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$3.50 APRIL 1993! 











First Word 


By David Porush 


Connecting with 

Running the Numbers: 

God through cyberspace 

:.. . v ■ " ; ■ 

The Ruminations 


of John Allen Paulos 



By Janet Stites 
Overcoming innumeracy, 



■ ', J ^*k t :-.: ;.^0~| 1 

the fear of ' 

By Keith Ferrell 

M^»V'' ' : 1 

and inability to cope 

A scientist who can write 


with math 




Automobility: Cars That 

By Steve Nad is 

Drive Themselves 


By Jeffrey Zygmont 





By Jeffrey Zygmont 

vehicles and highways 

Making communities 

of the future 

friendly to 

^H ^^^A 


cars and pedestrians 

^^H ^Bt 

Smart Materials 


By Gurney Williams III 

Political Science 

!P§ r jp8L 

Future structures 

By Tom Dworetzky 

may diagnose and repair 

To fix the economy, we 

their own problems. 

need to fix how 



we calculate the GNR 

The Decline and 


Fall of Russian Science 


By Linda Marsa 

■ By Susan Karlin 

How the collapse of 

Legislating the universe 



crippled the Soviet science 

Electronic Universe 


By Gregg Keizer 

4 42 



"his month, Omni looks at the technology that makes 

Fiction: Like My Dress 

Artificial Intelligence 

vehicles, highways, and buildings smarter 

By Kit Reed 

By John Grossman 

han ever before. Such technology wouldn't be possible 


Crosswords by computer 

without ground-breaking research of the type 



nnce done in Soviet labs or without a fundamental under 

By Bill Moseley 


standing of mathematics. (Cover by Tsuneo 


By Scot Morris 

Sanda; additional art and photo credits, page 56) 


U.S., AFC— 124 one 
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oy Cmni Fi,i;li options lr:onir-:ional lie. 13SB 

NY, and at additional r-n In; o'fe-; PC3TMAJ 

15, Number 6. Ow<& 

(212) iSt-B-X' Q'.'-l: ■.; ,-:'w- 

by P R Donnelley & Son; :mo ;=nc: distrfcuec I 1 ' 

by Curtis Ci'OLilalior Corriufr 

. . P.O. Box 3Cc.. Can-ner;.,- 

Milltiarbour, London E14 91W. Entire contents 

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lere— S28 ore vsa- Single ccpes Ki.bC in J.S.. ATO, and CanE 



Portal to transcendence? 

By David Porush 

Porush: "Surely 
we are no 
less likely to 
find tran- 
scendence In cy- 
than we are in 
any other 

There's a new frontie' beck- 
oning us, and we're grow- 
ing it in our own back- 
yards. Today many writers are 
looking ioward cyberspace as 
eagerly as previous generations 
anticipated moving westward 
across the prairie or out into 
space. The prairies, however, 
held hardship and war. And the 
high frontier of space promises 
vast stretches of cold indiffer- 
ence punctuated by alien land- 
scapes. Bui cyberspace lets us 
dream that we can build an inner 
frontier, a virtual reality, to our 
specs. So our culture is telling it- 
self sexy, glitzy, wishful stories 

space, whether 

a Gothic 

cathedral or a 


monastery or the 

pages of the 


about discovering alien territories 
right here on Earth. About releas- 
ing ourselves from the burden of 
body and liberating ourselves 
from sex and race and class. 
About acting out our fantasies in 
an electronic nether world and trip- 
ping through that trapdoor in the 
mind that will let us, like Alice, 
fall into a dream. 

This is a fascinating Utopian my- 
thology based on a technology 
still in its infancy, So I have been 
trolling for new cyberpunk fiction 
(like Neal Stephenson's Snow 
Crash), going native on electron- 
ic bulletin boards, and listening 
closely to the technical research- 

ers, sociologists, philosophers, 
hackers, and writers who specu- 
late about cyberspace. This is 
what I am hearing; 

In the short run, cyberspace 
will require an elaborate cyborg 
armor — data gloves, goggles, body- 
suits, helmets. Many believe, how- 
ever, that some time in the next 
century, genetic engineering, bi- 
ochip design, and nanotechnol- 
ogy will collaborate to produce 
functional wetware — computer 
interfaces that will enable us to 
jack our brains directly into a 
vast, worldwide, interactive net- 
work with its own geography and 
sensory realism. Eventually, we 
might achieve the Holy Grail of 
VR research: the delusion that our 
bodies are actually there, when, 
as William Gibson quipped in 
his 1984 novel Neuromancer, 
"There is no there there," The re- 
sult will be a cross between the 
Ultimate interactive computer 
game and telepathy. 

While there may be no there 
there, many would-be cybernauts 
imagine there's something else 
there, waiting for us on the other 
side of the interface. A recurring 
theme I hear is the confidence 
that cyberspace will be a technol- 
ogy not just of the brain and of 
the mind, but of the soul. There's 
something quite primitive at 
work in cyberspace's allure. This 
yearning for mystical encounters 
seems unusually superstitious 
coming from otherwise rational en- 
gineers, academics, and writers. 
But" good anthropologists learn 
not to dismiss all native beliefs as 
mere superstitions. So let's take 
them seriously, if only for a mo- 
ment. How might cyberspace be 
a portal to transcendence? 

Neurophysiologists suspect 
that lurking somewhere in the 
brain— mosi likely in a formation 
at the base of the brain stem 
called the dorsal raphe nucleus- 
lies a facility that makes us feel, 

under the right conditions, like 
we're in communication with 
gods or that we have voyaged 
out to meet some Higher Pres- 
ence. Certain configurations of da- 
ta delivered to the brain by elec- 
tronic stimulation could flood 
this region of the brain with sero- 
tonin, a neurotransmitter involved 
in many functions, including hal- 
lucination. In this way, the right 
software might evoke that 
oceanic, world-embracing feeling 
known so well to mystics and psy- 
cho-tropical beachcombers. 

But let's not stop here with 
this portrait of cyberspace as 
some kind of electronic designer 
drug. It's hard not to wonder why 
the brain has this weird facility to 
make us feel like we're talking to 
God. Is something so irrelevant to 
survival and yet so distinctively hu- 
man just a neurochemical acci- 
dent, an evolutionary byproduct 
of the sheer complexity of the ner- 
vous system? Or is it, as Imman- 
uel Kant suggested two centuries 
ago, that the laws of the "in here" 
are ihe same as the laws "out 
there": Our minds are tuned to uni- 
versal harmonies. Perhaps the 
brain is prepped to receive divine 
telegrams because there is, after 
all, an Intelligence informing the 
cosmos toward which universal 
evolution gropes — a Cosmic An- 
thropic Principle. Perhaps VR tech- 
nology will be one of the ways to 
open the hailing frequency. 

Surely we are no less likely to 
find transcendence in cyber- 
space than we are in any other 
space, whether a Gothic cathe- 
dral or a Himalayan monastery or 
the pages of the Talmud. Cyber- 
space could be our civilization's 
burning bush. CM 

David Porush is author of The 
Soft Machine: Cybernetic Fiction, 
and professor at Rensselaer Poly- 
technic Institute where he codi- 
rects an Al research group. 



Resolving differences, the thorny struggle of saving forests, 

and busting the blues 

Only Conned 

James Hornfischer's much needed arti- 
cle "The Soul in the Machine," [Books 
November 1992] touches on many top- 
ics within the topic of modern-day sci 
ence. Today's science dictates the ba- 
sis (soul) of our society (machine), and 
until the differences between our descrip- 
tion of nature through science and the 
description of nature through religion 
are resolved, we will continue to sub- 
vert what little understanding of nature 
we have so as to be incomprehensible 
to the general public. In so doing, scien- 
tific advances are made, confrontation 
with religion is averted, and a dysfunc- 
tional society is in the making. 

Laurence Lavelle 
Princeton, NJ 

In James Hornfischer's Books column, 
he confuses Einstein's theory of gener- 
al relativity with that of special relativi- 
ty. The column states that the theory of 
general relativity, published in 1916, con- 
tained the notion that the experience of 
time varies with an object's (observer's) 
velocity. This concept actually comes 
from Einstein's theory of special relativ- 
ity, published in 1905. General relativity 
deals with the "bending" of space! me 
by mass energy, one result of which is 
that the experience of time varies with 
the strength of the gravitational field in 
which the observer is immersed. 

Larry A. Barowski 
Owosso, Ml 

Of Factions and Forests 

I found Kathryn Phillips' article "Out on 
a Limb," [Earth. November 1992] enjoy- 
able and well written. Finding out that 
there is an organization like the Asso- 
ciation of Forest Service Employees for 
Environmental Ethics (AFSEEE) that 
wants to protect the environment is a 
great thing. The idea of the Forest Ser- 
vice worrying more about the logging 
and mining industries and not about the 
forests they are supposed to protect is 
sickening. I hope AFSEEE continues to 
watch out for Forest Service employees 
and their right to do their job in a profes- 
sional manner and not let the employ- 

ees be pressured by industry. 

Steve Prosser, Jr. 

Cupertino, CA 

I would like to add my endorsement to 
Mr. Jeff DeBonis' efforts. We are cur- 
rently using 1.5 billion trees annually in 
the United States, and the Forest Ser- 
vice policy of selling off old-growth 
trees to timber companies at prices as 
low as $2 per tree not only makes no 
economic sense (taxpayers bear the bur- 
den of USFS budget deficits), it is sim- 
ply unconscionable. Virgin forests are 
nonrenewable resources on our accel- 
erated human-time scale and are a pre- 
cious commodity we should all take re- 
sponsibility in preserving. Mr. DeBonis 
and his colleagues are taking the first 
step by raising their voices within the 
very agency that sets policies, and for 
that I thank them. 

Kenneth Davies 
El Cerrito, CA 

Ms. Phillips seems to view environmen- 
tal matters in black and white. As Mary- 
nell Oechsner recognized, her report 
was based upon research that led to a 
subjective opinion. Ms. Phillips draws 
the conclusion and states in her article 
that these opinions are truths. How unfor- 
tunate that the author lives in a world 
where she believes the environmental- 
ly correct employee is the beleaguered 
victim of the corrupt bureaucracy. 

Marc Nagele 
Dosing the Doldrums 
I finally got a chance to read the tale 
"The Man Who Rowed Christopher Co- 
lumbus Ashore" by Harlan Ellison, 
which appeared in your July 1992 is- 
sue. I'm glad I went back to the issue. 
The story is fantastic. The world needs 
a good dose of insanity every now and 
then. Harlan Ellison is our man. His sto- 
ry and its kind are just the ointment my 
recently tedious life was looking for, 
Thank you for the opportunity to dis- 
cover yet another wonderful author 
from your pages. 

Nick Boldt 
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada DO 


NOVEMBER 5,1975 

5:49 PM 











A brilliant young paleontologist sheds light on a continent and its creatures 

By Keith Ferrell 

Dinosaurs and 
Africa are 
a compelling 
tion, beautifully 
in Louis Jacobs' 
first Bosh. 

Let me tell you about a won- 
derful book, but let me al- 
so be honest: I know its au- 
thor and I think he's an absolute- 
ly swell guy. He's a paleontologist 
of the first rank and, it turns out, 
an author who brings exuberant 
narrative gifts as well as scientif- 
ic knowledge to the page. 

His name is Louis Jacobs. His 
first' book, Quest for the African 
Dinosaur, has just been pub- 
lished by Villard, and it's a terri- 
fic accomplishment. 

I met Louis at a conference on 
the future of fossil resources, a top- 
ic not without controversy, deal- 
ing with the role and rights of com- 
mercial fossil collectors. In the 
course of several hours of conver- 
sation, It became clear to me 
that Lou Jacobs possessed a 
more mature perspective than 
was common at the conference. 
His point of view seemed far less 
parochial than those too often 
found among scientists; he was 
willing to give fair hearing to ar- 
guments that flew in opposition to 
prevailing scientific attitudes. 

It was also clear that Louis is 
a fine raconteur and teacher, two 
roles not necessarily mutually ex- 
clusive. Louis teaches by telling 
stories, and he tells stories with 
the savor and smile of an enter- 
tainer. Sitting and talking with 
Lou, I came to envy his students 
t Southern Methodist Univers- 


1 FRlCMm^ . 

ity where he is the director of the 
Shuler Museum of Paleontology. 
This, I could see, was a man who 
could tell stories and teach sci- 
ence — a powerful combination. 

Now he's consolidated both 
roles in print. This is a thoughtful 
and entertaining volume, as con- 
cerned with the fate of Africa's 
present and future peoples as 
with its prehistoric inhabitants. 

There are few branches of sci- 
ence as romantic — at least on the 
surface — as that of field paleon- 
tology, and Jacobs' book cap- 
tures nicely that romance. Lou 
Jacobs broke, you will pardon the 
pun, a lot of ground with his 
search for dinosaur iossils in Ken- 
ya, Malawi, and the Cameroon, 
so there is in the book a sense of 
exploration and mystery. 

Quest for the African 
Dinosaur also con- 
tains a lovely and con- 
sistent sense of affection for the 
peoples of the various countries 
Jacobs visited. He is aware of the 
enormous challenges Africa fac- 
es, but equally aware of the con- 
tinent's majesty and potential. 
Jacobs' insights and observa- 
tions about Africa and the belea- 
guered Africans are an important 
and rewarding part of the book. 

As does any good teacher, 

Jacobs knows just where to be- 
gin his story, and the book's open- 
ing chapters carry us not only 
through Louis's early days in Af- 
rica as a member of Richard 
Leakey's staff, but also through 
an instructive and concise intro- 
duction to geology and the rise 
of life on Earth, He sets the sci- 
entific stage on which his book's 
drama will be played out. 

It's quite a drama, filled with 
anecdote and adventure as 
Jacobs and his team pursue 
hunches, hints, and rumors 
across lovely and forbidding ter- 
rain in search of new species of 
ancient life, There are red her- 
rings, missed opportunities, impen- 
etrable bureaucracies, physical 
and mechanical breakdowns, 
even a -spitting cobra or two. 
Through it all, Jacobs maintains 
for the reader a sense of the ex- 
citement and joy of doing real sci- 
ence and also a special sense of 
the vistas afforded us by taking 
a view of our world guided by a 
geologic time scale. Jacobs re- 
minds us how old our world is 
and how young our species. 

The book is filled with intellec- 
tual as well as physical drama, 
and Jacobs makes good use of 
his opportunity to approach sub- 
jects as diverse and controversial 
as living dinosaurs and fundamen- 
talist creationism. Wisely, he 
steers clear of cant and provoca- 
tion, yet presents the scientific 
viewpoint clearly and in some 
ways definitively. 

As noted, I know Lou Jacobs 
and like and admire him. If you 
met him, I think you would, too. 
Bearing that prejudice in mind, let 
me recommend that you go out 
right now and get a copy of 
Quest for the African Dinosaur by 
Louis Jacobs, Ph.D. It will enter- 
tain and inform you, and you may 
find yourself hoping, as I do, that 
for Lou Jacobs, this is the first of 
many, many books. DO 



Nerve cells in a dish obey like Pavlovian dogs 

By Steve Nadis 

Same folks 
don't like being 
thai the basic 
biology of 
bacteria, yeast, 
rats, and hu- 
mans is remark- 
ably similar. 

In a California classroom, obe- 
dient pupils study in perfect har- 
mony, each learning precisely 
the same thing at precisely the 
same time. This classroom is an 
elaborate test tube: the pupils, 
some 10 million strong; the 
class, a uniform stock of mouse- 
brain cells. "Some people find ihe 
idea of disembodied conscious- 
ness kind of scary," notes Daniel 
Koshland, Jr., a University of 
California-Berkeley biochemist. 
Koshland's goal is to understand 
the chemical changes of learning 
and memory occurring 
within an individual cell. 

"You can think of the 
brain as a computer 
made up of lots of micro- 
processing chips linked 
together," says Kosh- 
land, who edits the jour- 
nal Science in his other 
full-time job. "We're try- 
ing to figure out what 
the chip itself is doing 
rather than the entire cir- 
cuit." Koshland's lab em- 
ploys for the first time in 
memory research a tech- 
nique developed at MIT 
and Harvard to "immor- 
talize" mouse neurons. 
A cancer gene is insert- 
ed into the cell to induce division. 
Identical HT4 cells are then 
grown in culture. "We work with 
the same cells every day, which 
makes it easier to understand the 
chemical processes," explains 
Bruce Morimoto, now at Purdue. 
Researchers performing compara- 
ble studies with slices of rat- 
brain tissue cannot avoid mixing 
different cell types, and that 
makes it all but impossible to do 
precise chemical analyses. 

The Berkeley team demonstrat- 
ed habituation and long-term po- 
tentiation (UP) in the neural cell 
lines — hallmarks of learning and 
memory. Habituation occurs 
when cells diminish their re- 

sponse to a stimulus after repeti- 
tion — the way people get used to 
the sound of a loud doorbell. Po- 
tentiation occurs as neurons be- 
come more sensitive after repeat- 
ed stimulation and' remain that 
way. "When a child learns to be- 
come scared of tigers, we call it 
potentiation," Koshland says. 
When HT4 cells were exposed to 
minute quantities of the neuro- 
transmitter serotonin, they in- 
creased output of excitatory ami- 
no acids. But the effect was short- 
lived. If the cells were subjected 

to one very high dose of seroto- 
nin, the effect seemed perma- 
nent — that is, lasting for the five- 
hour life of the cell. One whop- 
ping dose made an indelible im- 
print on the neurons, perhaps like 
the imprinting of a car crash on 
a person's memory. 

Koshland's team also saw long- 
term memory activation when 
they gave cells simultaneous, re- 
peated, but much smaller, doses 
of serotonin and glutamate, an ex- 
citatory amino acid. "By stimulat- 
ing the cells again and again, you 
eventually push them over a 
threshold," Koshland explains. 
"The response becomes in- 
grained in long-term memory the 

way people remember multiplica- 
tion tables forever if they initially 
worked at them hard enough." 

The Berkeley scienfists may 
have idenlified the cellular key 
facilitating long-term storage. "As 
a safeguard before opening the 
vault, two things have to happen 
at once," Morimoto explains. The 
serotonin receptor has to be ac- 
tivated, causing levels of a mole- 
cule called cyclic AMP to rise. 
The glutamate receptor must be 
stimulated at the same time, in- 
directly activating protein kinase 
C, an enzyme causing 
cyclic AMP levels to re- 
main enhanced. That trig- 
gers a series of chemi- 
cal changes in the cell. 
"It's surprising it looks 
so simple, but when cy- 
clic AMP levels stay ele- 
vated, you seem to get 
long-term storage," Mo- 
rimoto says. 

Koshland's lab plans 
to test 80 new cell lines 
to see if the same mech- 
anism is at work. If they 
confirm the hypothesis, 
the findings could aid re- 
searchers experimenting 
with animal models. "Our 
work could give these 
people clues," Koshland says. 
"They may be able to spot cells 
that have learned a certain func- 
tion just by finding neurons with 
the highest levels of cyclic AMP." 
Charles Stevens, a Howard 
Hughes Medical Institute investi- 
gator at the Salk Institute says, 
"It's hard to know if the thing 
they're seeing in the test tube is 
the same phenomenon others 
see in Ihe brain. However, the ef- 
fects Koshland is studying are im- 
portant, even if we learn human 
or animal memory relies on some- 
what differenf mechanisms. His 
work will tell us, among other 
things, how cells respond to stim- 
uli in the environment." DO 


A welcomed return to a small- 

By Jeffrey Zygmont 

"Americans are 
pioneers and 
gunslingers, and 
we love lump- 
ing Into our cars," 
says architect 
Barry Berlins, de- 

To make a path to the new 
shopping mall in my 
town, traffic engineers 
widened the highway out front to 
nine lanes. They didn't bother to 
put in a crosswalk. 

"To be a pedestrian in land- 
scapes like this is to be consid- 
ered a pariah." So pronounces 
Andres Duany, architect, town 
planner, and a leading voice in 
the cry to return building to a hu- 
man scale. "In most communities 
in America, it's quite easy to con- 
clude that the single most import- 
ant principle is that cars must be 
happy," he says. 

Accordingly, modern American 

ceral appeal of auto 
motion. Berkus 
has designed hous- 
es with eight- 
car garages, even 
some glass- 
walled garages 
that show- 
case aulas as art 

communities coalesce around 
large collector streets leading au- 
tomobiles en masse to segregat- 
ed business developments, shop- 
ping centers, or to freeways that 
lead them farther still. These col- 
lectors are fed by cul-de-sac hous- 
ing subdivisions, which, says 
Duany, are sterile from a lack of 
diversity. Communities are isolat- 
ed by their separation from 
shops and schools. 

And their illogical layout of 
twists and curves and go-no- 
where streets make them uninvit- 
ing to pedestrians. Where can 
you go? Distances to shops and 
offices are too far to walk. And 
even the stout of leg are barred 
by uncrossable intersections 
and fast-moving traffic. "The clas- 

sic suburb is less a community 
than an agglomeration of houses, 
shops, and offices connected to 
one another by cars, not by the 
fabric of human life," says Eliza- 
beth Plater-Zyberk, Duany's part- 
ner. Continued suburban confine- 
ment to houses and cars, she 
warns, "spells the end of authen- 

tic c 


Their remedy: A welcomed re- 
turn to a small-town ethos, mixing 
homes, shops and offices in con- 
centrated communities that can 
also serve as collectors for mass- 
transit lines. Laid out especially 
for pedestrians, with inviting toot- 
paths to businesses and other 
community services, Duany and 
Plater-Zyberk's villages aim to 
lure people outside again, rekin- 
dling neighborly values. 

From their Miami practice, 
Duany and Plater-Zyberk put 
these great ideas to work at 
such developments as Seaside, 
on the Florida panhandle, and 
Kentlands, a community under 
construction near Washington. 

But such neotraditionalist build- 
ing will grow only if it improves 
life in automobilia; the greatest 
threat to the movement is that it 
could degenerate into an anti- 
automobile utopianism. Utopian 
schemes to outright eliminate au- 
tos tail because they wrongly as- 
sume that people don't really 
want cars, that our dependence 
has somehow evolved independ- 
ently of human choice and ac- 
tion. Truth is, cars only fulfill the 
roles people give them. Our reli- 
ance comes laissez faire, collec- 
tively from individuals who use 
them to escape crowded urban 
living conditions — even if the sub- 
urbs are ugly and inconvenient. 

"People are willing to make sig- 
nificant tradeoffs in order to be 
owners of single-family homes. 
And most people are willing to 
drive very far," says Professor Avi 
Friedman, who directs the afford- 

able-homes program of McGill Uni- 
versity School of Architecture in 
Montreal. Studies of residents of 
low-cost, space-efficient houses 
designed by McGill show that 
cars are key to the compromise: 
a few hours a day on cramped 
highways in exchange for a per- 
sonal patch of green. 

To the mass of people, auto- 
mobiles equal empowerment. 
They let people travel once-un- 
thinkable distances, door to 
door, quickly. They enhance com- 
fort: Maybe people used to walk 
to market through the searing 
heat and numbing cold because 
they had no alternative. Unlike 
trains, automobiles enable indi- 
viduals to make their own sched- 
ules, And they permit privacy. 
"You don't pick your fellow riders 
in mass transit," says Barry 
Berkus, whose Berkus Group Ar- 
chitects has offices in Southern 
California, Washington, and Sun 
Valley, Idaho Berkus himself 
thrills to commuting in his 
Porsche. "It's almost a ceremony 
in being able to drive my car: 
You're in control." 

Of course, the ceremony dims 
when, from a stop-and-go free- 
way, you espy the smog that 
domes the LA. basin — hence, 
the impulse to restrict motor trav- 
el. But let's recognize that cars 
are so populous because ihey 
are so popular, and they're pop- 
ular because they make for a bet- 
ter life. Defenders of the automo- 
bile hold out that coming technol- 
ogy will remedy its social ills while 
allowing it to maintain its social 
contributions. Berkus foretells the 
arrival of tiered transportation 
that includes clean and nimble 
electric cars for close-in errands 
and intelligent-vehicle highway 
systems for well-managed cross- 
town traffic. 

"Technology can revive De- 
troit," he says, "if it's used to 
solve social problems. "CXI 


Now's the time for some really gross economics 

By Tom Dworetzky 

■ f% ■ ith the Administration 
I I and private attention 
^Jf w fixed on the econo- 
my, maybe it's time to reexamine 
a key indicator of financial 
health — the Gross National Prod- 
uct. For years, a small band of 
thinkers has argued that the way 
the GNP is calculated is the real 
problem, and I agree. Because 
we live and die on the altar of 
economic totems like GNP, we 

Coal is a natural 
whose irreplace- 
able, one-time 
depletion is not 
calculated in 
the GNP. 

wipe out his savings, and he 
can't work any more. The Gross 

National Product figures things 
much the same as the Gross Ned 
Product. It looks at our gross prod- 
uct without subtracting for the 
one-time depletion of the irre- 
placeable resources necessary 
to create those products. Nothing 
in the figures leavens the GNP 
with a long-range consideration 
of how much stuff you're using up 

worship in ignorant bliss. 

Here's the basic dilemma: Say 
your name is Ned and GNP 
stands for Gross Ned Product. 
You work at the local coal mine, 
and they pay pretty well. Of 
course you can only mine coal for 
a while before you get black- 
lung disease and retire kinda 
permanently. Tiien there'll be medi- 
cal bills. So thegood pay is sort 
ot for using up your lungs, which 
you can only do one time. Those 
lungs are your own private, non- 
renewable resource — like coal, 
oil, clean air and water, old- 
growth forests, and even those 
damned spotted owls. 

If Ned calculates his GNP on- 
ly by considering his income, he 
looks in pretty good shape until 
he gets sick, the medical bills 

that's nonrenewable. 

Experts have argued that the 
GNP is far from the only figure 
needed to measure the economy. 
Among the experts are Claremont 
College theologian John Cobb, 
his son Clifford, and the World 
Bank's Herman Daly. They've 
gone so far as to create an index, 
first published as an appendix in 
the'" 1989 book For the Common 
Good, called "the index of sus- 
tainable economic welfare" 
(ISEW). It offers a different assess- 
ment of our economic world. 

The major factors ignored by 
the GNP but part of ISEW, accord- 
ing to Clifford Cobb, include; 

1 . Distribution of income. Extra 
dollars to the rich count less 
than to the poor. This has been 
an important factor over the last 

ten years because the distribu- 
tion has gotten worse, 

2. Estimation of resource deple- 
tion. Use once and it's gone. 

3. International borrowing. 

4. Household work. 

5. Military and related govern- 
ment spending, 

6. Work on infrastructure, includ- 
ing government spending on re- 
pairs and building of streets, high- 
ways, and sewers. 

7. Environmental damage. This 
factor is 'not estimated by expend- 
itures for pollution control and 
cleanups. {Was the Valdez clean- 
up or repairs after last year's hur- 
ricanes really a plus for the GNP? 
They count as such in our pres- 
ent calcuiations.) 

Clearly, as Clifford Cobb says, 
"With ISEW, you can measure 
quality of life better than with 
GNP. It measures how well off we 
are, not how fast the wheels are 
rotating on a car that's up on 
blocks. We've known for years 
that many things are left out of the 
GNP, but few attempts have been 
made to address this issue. Meas- 
ures of economic activity are vi- 
tal: In practice, policymakers use 
these numbers as a measure of 
welfare and base decisions on 
them. The mindset develops 
wherein people ignore what the 
numbers really represent." 

What the Sustainable Econom- 
ic Growthers found conforms to 
most common experience: We 
are not better off. Changing the 
overreliance on the GNP calcula- 
tion would put the issue before us 
every day and make common 
sense out of calls for conserva- 
tion, Would you drive a car with 
no gas gauge, with no thought to 
fuel consumed? Todays's GNP cal- 
culation is like an odometer with 
no associated gas gauge. Isn't it 
time to start figuring out how 
many miles we're getting to the 
gallon instead of just how far 
we've gone? DO 



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When astronauts blasted off to explore space, lawyers inevitably followed 

By Susan Karlin 

■ ffe ■ ho owns the moon? 
I Throughout history, 
%J \J planting a flag in un- 
claimed territory has meant own- 
ership, and the United States has 
its flag on the moon. 

If several countries own a 
space station, what is the nation- 
ality of a baby born in space? 

As the presence of humans in 

space increases, so must the 
body of laws governing their ac- 
tions there. "The space move- 
ment seems to be toward interna- 
tional research, development, pro- 
duction, and operation, and there- 
fore, joint ownership," says David 
J. Kuckelman, an international law- 
yer with the Los Angeles firm of 
Seyfarth, Shaw, Fairweather & Ger- 
aldson. "Things that are gov- 
erned by place of occurrence — 
such as ownership rights, con- 
tract signing, how to try criminals, 
and nationality for birth — will 
have to' be redefined legally. 
We're going to need an entire 
body of law for people growing 
up, doing business, and invent- 
ing new things in outer space." 
Still only a tiny legal field — just 

300 of the country's 777,000 at- 
torneys specialize in space law — 
it draws from a combination of le- 
gal disciplines, including interna- 
tional relations, government, and 
patents and property rights. 

Space law began in 1958 with 
the formation of the National Aer- 
onautics and Space Administra- 
tion in the United States, The fol- 
lowing year, the United Nations 
created a committee to study le- 
gal issues Involved in exploring 
and developing outer space. 

Between 1967 and 1976, the 
United Nations drafted five inter- 
national treaties that state: All peo- 
ple have equal access to outer 
space; an astronaut or space 
equipment that accidentally 
lands in one country must be re- 
turned to the launching country; 
countries are responsible for 
what they launch; everything in 
space must be registered; and 
the moon and other celestial bod- 
ies are the heritage of and to be 
shared by all humankind, 

Space law grew to include com- 
mercial concerns with the advent 
of the commercial launch indus- 
try. Today, attorneys dealing in 
space law guide an $80-billion 
worldwide space sales market, 
says Daniel P. Byrnes, a Pepper- 
dine University law professor and 
commercial space attorney with 
the Los Angeles-based firm Bak- 
er & Hostetler. 

Such activity prompted the 
field's expansion to other legal ar- 
eas. Space attorneys help com- 
panies acquire all mandatory gov- 
ernment launch permits, from De- 
partment of Transportation satel- 
lite registration and launch per- 
mits to export approvals from the 
Department of State (because 
launched material is exported in- 
to space). They handle litigation 
against companies supplying 
faulty satellite parts, and they've 
begun to tackle environmental is- 
sues such as space debris and 

'ockei-launcn pollution. 

The next decade will likely see 
the creation of new legal prece- 
dents. Plans call for the national 
aerospace plane, currently under 
development, to zoom across 
half the globe in less than three 
hours by traveling through outer 
space. It falls to space lawyers to 
decide whether to assign aviation 
or space laws to the program. 

Space lawyers have wasted no 
time in devising solutions to this 
anticipated dilemma. Carl Q. Chris- 
tol's Allocative Theory suggests 
that laws be allocated according 
to the carrier's expressed pur- 
pose. If the vehicle flies in space 
en route from one point on the 
■earth to another, aviation law 
would rule. "But if its object is to 
go into space : say, to a space 
station, then it would be subject 
to space law," says Christol, an 
international lawyer specializing 
in space issues with Fizzolio, 
Fizzolio & McLeod in Sherman 
Oaks, California. 

Perhaps the field's greatest 
challenge will be ironing out how 
to share the benefits of space. 
"People who spend money to fur- 
ther the space program are enti- 
tled to the profifs from those ex- 
penditures," Kuckelman says. "I 
don't believe we should create a 
global socialism with respect to 
the uses of outer space. It would 
kill the incentive of the countries 
moving forward on it." 

On the other hand, Christol 
adds, "just because we can ex- 
ploit the area doesn't mean we 
can be monopolistic." 

Which returns us to the ques- 
tion of lunar ownership. Consid- 
er the international treaty that de- 
termines celestial bodies to be 
the heritage of humankind. In oth- 
er words, we all own the moon. 

And that's a nice surprise for 
anyone who's dreamed of owning 
beachfront property — even if it is 
next to the Sea of Tranquility. DO 



Business innovation today, gaming fun tomorrow 

By Gregg Keizer 

maneuvers: In 
this game 
developed joint- 
ly by Hughes 
Training and Lucas- 
Arts, Rebel 
X-wing fighters 
are flying in 
formation when the 
Rebel tanker 
ship explodes— 
victim of 
an Empire ground 
gun's laser. 

Future shock? No big deal. 
That's nothing compared 
to an even rougher psy- 
chological body blow. Future lust. 
Techno addicts like me, like 
you— Hey, you play games that 
never saw a piece of cardboard 
or a chunk of wood, right? — just 
can't wait for the future. We're al- 
ways looking for that next elec- 
tronic fix to satisfy our lust for 
what will be, not what is. 

There's no better place to see 
future lust in action than at COM- 
DEX, the twice-yearly trade 
show for 100,000 or so technol- 
ogy junkies. Sure, most of what's 
at the show is business, not en- 
tertainment, but it's just as true 
that today's corporate technology 
usually transmutes— sooner or lat- 
er — into tomorrow's electronic 

toys. Compact discs, high-pow- 
' ered computers, networks, 
and advanced telecommuni- 
cations all were work first and 
fun later. 

Some of the sexiest COMDEX 
business technology will undoubt- 
edly have an impact on the way 
we play digitally down the road. 
To scratch that future-lust itch, all 
we have to do is look. 

Take video, for instance. 
Thanks to Microsoft, the software 

behemoth that calls most of the 
shots in the PC world, video will 
be all over the desktop this year. 
Video for Windows, the software 
to run video clips on a PC, and a 
slew of supporting hardware— 
mostly boards that you plug into 
one of the empty slots inside 
your computer — will simplify the 
process of pulling video off the 
VCR or camcorder and putting it 
on the PC screen. Business thinks 
it will use moving pictures to en- 
hance presentations, punch up 
training, and add faces and 
sounds to electronic mail. 

But the ease with which video 
can now be added to PC pro- 
grams — some of the capture and 
playback boards, the hardware 
you need to grab clips or single 
frames, cost as little as $400, 
like MediaVision's Pro MovieSpec- 
trum — will drastically alter the 
amount of video we see in com- 
puter games. Some already use 
a limited form of video or base 
their computer-created charac- 
ters on digitized images acquired 
from video. Dynamix's Front Page 
Sports: Football, for example, fea- 
tures the most realistic-looking 
players around because they're 
based on video of semipro play- 
ers. Thanks to Video for Windows 
and the standard it will quickly 
set, look for a surge in gaming mo- 
tion to start this year and contin- 
ue building over the next. 

(A more mundane application 
for video on the computer 
comes courtesy of other boards, 
which, when connected to cable, 
put a TV screen in a small 
window on your PC's monitor, let- 
ting you watch CNN or Nick at 
Night while you work. New Media 
Graphic's WatchltiTV, a good ex- 
ample of such boards, sells for 
around $300.) 

Other future lusts center 
around the portable gizmos that 
look ready to replace cellular 
phones with small, slate-sized tab- 

lets to keep business people or- 
ganized and in touch with their of- 
fices via wireless networks. Going 
by a bunch of terms — Apple 
likes the name Newton for its per- 
sonal data assistant (PDA), while 
AT&T calls its new mobile ma- 
chine a Personal Communicator— 
these cellular phone/cellular fax/ 
computer combinations will 
make use of the growing wireless 
networks the telecommunications 
companies are assembling. This 
technology, too, may come to 
work today, but will figure into our 
future play. 

Once costs drop — both for the 
hardware and the associated 
calls — someone will figure out 
that we'll have- fun playing 
games with other people no mat- 
ter where we are. Online services 
heavy on entertainment already 
exist, but they chain you to the 
desk and the phone line. Wireless 
communication will break you 
free from both, letting you play 
group or head-to-head games 
with others — not the dumb com- 
puter — from plane, train, automo- 
bile, or backyard. 

Future lust comes from even 
stranger places, like companies 
once more interested in Depart- 
ment of Defense dollars than 
quarters dropped at the arcade. 
Hughes Training, a maker of ad- 
vanced flight simulators, recent- 
ly teamed with LucasArts to 
build a system of interactive gam- 
ing pods fit for theme parks. 
Each enclosed Mirage pod will 
hold two to four people and con- 
nect with as many as 63 other 
pods. You'll climb in, watch the 
curved screen, listen to the ste- 
reo soundtrack, and play with 
and against others. 

Lust satiated? No? Not surpris- 
ing, not when the one thing future 
lust forbids is satisfaction with 
what's here and now. But at 
least we know what we want— 
anything we don't yet have. DO 



A programmer lets the computer fill in the Wanks 

By John Grossman 

An eight- 
letter word lor 
crossword con- 
structor: Eric 
Albert's program 
tor his home 
computer created 
a puzzle that 

if lor best puz- 
zle oil 891. 

□ n a bright, bud-popping 
spring morning, Eric Al- 
bert pushes his young 
son Gus in a stroller down a sun- 
ny sidewalk in Auburndale, Mas- 
sachusetts. His wife is at work. 
And so is he. 

A couple of blocks away, Al- 
bert's 33 MHz 80486 computer 
spends just a few minutes creat- 
ing a crossword puzzle that's chal- 
lenging enough to appear in the 
country's best puzzle publica- 


tions. In fact, this very puzzle, ti- 
tled "A Byting Observation," ap- 
pears above. The answers can 
be found on page 88. 

STOP: If you want to take a pen- 
cil to it before learning how it was 
constructed (and some of the an- 
swers), read no further. 

Albert sells computer-generat- 
ed crossword puzzles to such pub- 
lications as the Washington 
Post, the New York Daily News, 
and the International Herald Trib- 
une. Many of his early submis- 
sions went to initially unsuspect- 
ing editors. For competitive rea- 
sons, he didn't want his secret 
widely known while he worked to 

improve his program. And he wor- 
ried about prejudice. 

"Some people think compact 
discs sound flat and digitized," 
he says. "It's just that they know 
CDs are done by computer. I'm 
sure a lot of people don't want to 
think a computer can do some- 
thing they consider creative." 

Unlike most who have tried to 
fill crossword grids by machine, 
Albert, a crack programmer for 
nearly half of his 35 years, isn't 
just pursuing an interesting men- 
tal challenge. He aims to make a 
profession out of this — one that al- 
lows him to work at home. With- 
out the computer, he wouldn't 
have a prayer: Checkout clerks 
make more per hour than the av- 
erage crossword constructor, 
who usually nets only $40 for a 
daily newspaper crossword. 

For Omni's puzzle, Albert sets 
up a 13 x 13 grid and plugs in 
the theme words: ALITTLE 
BEATGENIUS. We'll see. 

Because the program can't yet 
swallow the entire puzzle at 
once, Albert must break it into 
smaller bites. Circling a P- 
shaped chunk in the upper right- 
hand corner defined by 5-down 
through 1 2-down, he fills in the ap- 
propriate letters from the theme. 

"That's it. That's the end of my 
job," he says. In a mere eight sec- 
onds, the computer comes up 
with a solution, 

"We could stop here," Albert 
says, "but usually, I'll let the com- 
puter look for better fills." 

The computer has prefigured 
a score of 22 as the best possi- 
ble solution, Albert explains, and 
continues down toward that ide- 
al, rarely reachable goal. It values 
the first solution at 87 of 22; the 
second, 82 of 22. 

"I know of no one besides me 
even posing the question, 'How 
do we find a good fill?'" Albert 
says. "Everybody else is trying to 



1. Bloke 

5. Record location 
13. Taped sports even! 

15. Observation; Part I 

17. Command to a receive 

18. Street sign 

19. Cheerleader's chant 

20. Like some exercise 
24. Business interest 
29. Observation: Part II 

31 . "Ain't Too Proud 

32. Heavy attack 

33. Famed diarist 

34. Gives a talk 
40. Quarreling 

44. Observation: Part III 

46. I 

i the b 

47. Camper's cover 

48. Court martial subject 

49. Pindaric product 

1. Raised rugged rock 

2. Eclipse sight 

3. kind of test 

4. "Charlie Hustle" 

5. Oracular 

6. Ripen 

7. Gale's dog 

8. For All Seasons 

9. Bound bundle 

10. Once more 

11. Pinta's companion 

12. " Lied" (Steely Dan song; 

16. It's often in hot water 

20- Fitting 

21. "Telephone Line" group, for 

22. Summon a genie 

23. Ear part 

24. Elf or fairy 

25. Excite with 

26. loss for words 

27. Frat-party staple 

28. Before, in palindromes 
30. Boss 

34. Patriot victim 

35. Diamond face 

36. Means' justsfiers 

37. Busy as 

38. Housewiie humorist 

39. NaCI 

41. Conked out 

42. Herbert opus 

43. Jets 
45. Bond 



It looks like we got a good deal, anyway. Plus, why sometimes World Series 

teams need to lose to win, and why pigs love Ben & Jerry's 

. ■ 

If you've ever had aspirations to 
become a detective, try this as 
your first assignment; Find out 
the cost of the Gulf War. Two 
years ago, when the United 
States became involved in the 
Persian Gulf conflict, we were in 
an "R," and Congress took the 
president to task on how he 
would fund the "W," wanting to 
know who was going to pick up 
the bulk of the "$,." The admini- 
stration's initial plan for funding 
the war called for $71 billion, 
with $54 billion — more than 

three-fourths of the total — coming from allied governments, 
according to the Congressional Quarterly Almanac of 1 991 . 
Quick subtraction: The United States 'would owe $17 billion. 

After the end of the war, the same report says, Congress 
passed a bill that prcvidec S-2.6 oillion to cover the costs 
of the war, stipulating that those costs be paid from $53.5 
billion pledged by foreign governments. Quick subtraction: 
the United States is up $10.9 billion. 

The report doesn't say how much the war did cost, nor 
does it say how much we collected in Allied contributions. 
Frustrated and confused, I turned to Bob Gaines, govern- 
ment documents liiran'ar and Mak Schumacne'. 'eferonco 
librarian at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, 
for help. Between the two, they have 32 years of experience 
as research librarians. 

Schumacher and I scanned the newspaper and peri- 
odicals index first. The Wall Street Journal reported at the end 
of April 1991, that, according to the White House Office, of 
Management and Budget (OMB), the United States spent 
$31.5 billion on the war, although that figure didn't include 
the expense of shipping troops and equipment home. Both 
the Wall Street Journal and New Republic ran articles 
about the United States's possibly embarrassing windfall if 
the Allies paid their pledges. But the Persian Gulf articles ta- 
pered off by the summer of 1991 . and we couldn't find the 
actual "igure on the cost of the war or how much the Allies 
did, in fact, pay. The three-page summary of the war in the 
1992 World Almanac didn't mention cost. 

I went to the second floor of the library — documents. 
Gaines, anticipating my arrival, had pulled out reports for my 
preview. "An Analysis of the President's Budgetary Propos- 
als for Fiscal Year 1992," which came out in March 1991. sug- 
gested that the total cost of the Gulf operation would be 
about $45 billion, but it also noted that the Defense Depart- 

TR lm--- 

men! wasn't able to provide 
firm estimates of the cost at the 
time the report was prepared. 
The following year's report 
didn't even mention Operation 
Desert Shield or Storm. 

A June 1991 report compiled 
by the Congressional Research 
Service reported that Allies 
pledged $54.6 billion, accord- 
ing to the Administration, of 
which $36,1 billion in cash and 
in-kind contributions had been 
received as of April 1991. I 
asked Gaines what "in-kind" 
meant, because he's a librarian and librarians know every- 
thing. He shrugged. 

Gaines ran a search on Marcive, a database that covers 
all the documents ssued by the Government Printing Office. 
He pulled microfiche for a number of committee hearings. 
Good news: At the beginning of the conflict, the House 
passed legislation, H.R. 586, requiring the OMB to submit 
incremental, defense-related U.S. costs of the conflict and 
the amount of contributions made by foreign countries. 

I looked at one more report from the Committee on 
Armed Services to Congress, dated February 1991. It 
couldn't have the figures I sought. But there was one dissent- 
ing view by Colorado Representative Pat Schroeder. H.R, 
586, she said, "leads to the deceptive conclusion that the 
At ies are picking up most of the costs of Operation Desert 
Storm." She noted that the term "in-kind contribution" was 
not defined and that the bill "does not require the disclosure 
of any commitments which the Unitec: Stales made to coun- 
tries lo gain their support. We all know about the six billion 
in forgiven loans to the Egyptians. What other deals like this 
were made which we do not know about?" Schroeder pro- 
posed an amendment to H.R. 586 that would make it more 
accurate, but we couldn't find the outcome. 

I called Schroeder's office. A staffer told me that no ac- 
tion had been taken on H.R. 586 in the Senate— Schroeder's 
amendment had been rendered moot. I called the OMB and 
as<ed for the most recent report, dated October 1992. In it, 
Richard Darman, director of the OMB. warned that the fig- 
ures should be ■■.<■ e^ed as oartial and pre minary: The De- 
partment of Defense estimated the full incremental cost of 
the conflict to be $61.1 billion. Total foreign contributions 
were $53.8 billion— $48. 1 billion in cash, $5.7 billion in kind. 
The cost of the war In billions? Quick subtraction: $61.1 mi- 
nus $53.8 equals $7.3 billion, kind of. —JANET STITES 



The home team has just 
won a big game in baseball's 
World Series. All the 
sportswriters say the team's 
on a roll: It has the "big 
mo"— momentum — making 
it favored to win the next 
game. But recent research 
by Kentucky psychologist 
Irwin Nahinsky calls this 
popular wisdom into ques- 
tion. He found that a team 
rebounding from a loss in the 
World Series is more likely to 
win its next game than a 
squad coming off a victory. 

The Univsrs iy of Lousvihe 
r esea-'chor analyzed all 506 
World Series games between 
1903 and 1989. He discov- 
ered that the probability of a 
win following a win was .62, 
while after a loss it was .73. A 
win follows a win most often 
in game 4, with a probability 
of .75, while a team bouncing 
back frcTn a loss in game 2 
has a probability of .90 of a 
win in game 3. 

"It's the opposite of 
what you would ex- 
pect," Nahinsky says. / ' 
He speculates that 
teams may get 
overconfident arer 
a victory or that 
"highly competitive 
athletes may try 

harder after a defeat." 

Nahinsky calls his discov- 
ery "negative momentum." 
He hasn't yet determined if it 
applies to other sports or 
even to regular-season 
baseball games, although he 
plans to study the latter. 

—Paul McCarthy 


Global Response Is an 
environmental group that 
takes action by encouraging 
members to write to the 
decision makers in charge of 
specific projects harmful to 
the environment. Omni will 
periodically inform readers of 
particular Global Response 
actions. To join Global 
Response, write to Box 749G. 
Boulder Colorado 80306- 

A World Series team is 
likely to win a game alter 
losing one than after 
winning one. 

■;•;;■ v/an! to turn 

Although the salty ocean 

waters freeze over for half the 
year, the region known as 
Benr.Qia cradles vast amounts 
of wildlife and native peoples 
P'eservng ancient cultures. 
The area includes the 
Bering Strait, adjacent 
oceans, Russian and 
Alaskan coastlines, islands, 
and freshwater streams. 
Millions of waterfowl, 
shorebirds, and song- 
birds flock to Ber- 
ingia's summer 
brightness, which lies 
at the northern end of 
igration routes for many 
of the world's birds, 
including snow geese and 
sandhill cranes. But overfish- 
ing by commercial vessels 
may threaten seabirds and 
Since 1990, conservation- 
ists have been trying to turn 
millions of acres in this region 
into Beringian Heritage 
International Park. But craft- 
ng a park out of territory 
under the sovereignty of two 
nations is a challenge. 
The Russians have 
dubbed the area an 
ethno-ecological territory 
where subsistence cultures, 

the Bering Sea ir 


plants, and animals all 
receive protection. "The 
Russians are being very 
o regressive," explains Na- 
tional Audubon Society 
representative Mary Core. 
" on the Russian 
side, rafve cultures could be 
pushed into great difficulty 
by changes to subsistence 

For its conlribution to the 
park, Russia has offered 
millions of acres on the 
Chukotski Peninsula and 
coastal waters out to 60 
miles. The United States 
plans to contribute the 
2.7-m : l ion-acre (aporoxr~are- 
ly 4,200-squa'e-mie'i Being 
Land Bridge National Pre- 
serve on Alaska's Seward 
Peninsula, an area one-third 
again as large as Yellow- 
stone National Park. Con- 
gress must still approve the 
park legislation. However, 
the United States has not 
offered any marine compo- 
nent for protection. 

To express your support 
for this innovative park, write 
to Senator Frank Murkowski 
(FhAlaska), U.S. Senate, 
Washington, DC 20510. 

— Liz Caile 


Sailors have long been 
delighted by dolphins swim- 
ming alongside their ships, 
providing friendly company 
on lonely voyages. Now U.S. 
Navy scientists in Hawaii who 
train dolphins for secret 
military missions report that 
the intelligent aquatic mam- 
mals actually save precious 
energy by hitching free rides 
on the bow or stern wakes of 
ships they accompany. 
Research physiologist Ter- 

'marathon' swimming and 
snort term 'sprinting,'" says 
Williams, who works at the 
Naval Ocean Systems Cen- 
ter Hawaii Laboratory at 
Kailua on Oahu. 

Increasing the speed of 
the Boston whaler that the 
test dolphins accompanied 
from two meters per second 
to three meters per second 
caused their heart rate and 
other metabolic signs to 
increase. At four meters per 
second, the dolphins refused 
to swim alongside the boat, 

rie Williams accidentally 
discovered the dolphin's 
ability to utilize pressure 
waves. She was conducting 
tests to measure their 
respiration, heart, and blood- 
lactate levels at varying 
swimming speeds. 

"We wanted to find out if 
they have different metabolic 
rates for long-distance 

instead dropping behind it. 

"It almost looks like they're 
gliding — the pectoral fins 
move out from the body, and 
there's almost no fluke 
movement," Williams says. 
"Even though they were at 
four meters a second, their 
heart rate, respiration, and 
lactate levels fell beiow the 
readings at slower speeds. 

It's like drafting on a bicycle 
behind a truck" and getting 
pulled along by the wind. 

Dolphins can ride bow as 
well as stern wakes of ships 
and even whales. The 
personable dolphins also 


Psychologists have tradi- 
tionally maintained that 
infants cannot formulate 
long-term memories until 
the age of eight or nine 
months — about the time 
they start exhibiting lan- 
yufige skills. Researchers 
at Rutgers University in 
New Brunswick, New Jer- 
sey, however, have dis- 
proved this belief in recent 
experiments with three- 
month-old infants. 

The researchers trained 
the babies to move- a 
mobile suspended above 
their cribs by kicking when 
a white ribbon attached to 
the mobile was fastened to 
their ankles. Two weeks 
later,- the infants demon- 
strated near- perfect recol- 
'ection of the task, so long 
as they were placed in 
exactly the same environ- 
ment — in the same room, in 
the same crib, and with the 
same color and. pattern on 
the crib liner. The babies 
showed no retention what- 
soever when tested' in a 
different room', with a 
different color or pattern on 
the crib liner, or with no liner 
in the crib at all. 

"They don't respond if 
you change the slightest 
lir'.k! aspect of context, even 
though it is totally irrelevant 
to this. game," says Rutgers 
psychologist Carolyn Rovee- 

dive to 1,500 feet, far below 
the depth to which most 
submarines can plunge, 
which may be one reason the 
Navy is interested in their 
seagoing abilities. 

— Ben Barber 

Collier. "That's surprising, 
because the infants never 
seem to look at the crib liner 
when they're being trained. 
We learned that just 
because they don't look at 
the liner doesn't mean they 
don't see it:" 

Precise visual cues — 
such as the mobile's seve 
wooden figures or the 
yellow crib liner with green 
felt squares — help infants 
figure out the particular 
memory they're supposed 
to retrieve. "A baby knows 
what is supposed to 
happen in a given place," 
Rovee-Collier explains. 
"They know what happens 
on the changing table, in 
the kitchen high chair, or in 
the car seat. But they don't 
know the relation between 
places — like where the car 
is. Sometimes we don't 
know that either." 

— Steve Nadis 

Babies have 


Pigs., .■"■■or surprisingly, :r; '/a ice aea:r. sicp. 


About five years ago, 
runaway growth forced the 
Ben & Jerry's ice-cream 
company to drastically re- 
duce waste-water emissions 
at its Waterbury, Vermont, 
ice-cream plant. Looking for 
an innovative solution to the 
problem, the company pur- 
chased about 300 pigs and 
started feeding them ice- 
cream slop — the same goop 
it had previously fed to 
sewers. "The pigs absolutely 
loved it, except for Mint 
Chocolate Chip," says spokes- 
person Rob Michalak. "We 
suspect it's the mint." 

Although the pigs have 
made a serious dent in the 
volume of ice-cream effluent 
headed to the town's 
water-treatment facility, Ben 
& Jerry's didn't stop there. It 
built two large lagoons that 
pretreat liquid wastes without 
using chemicals through a 
process called aeration. 
Recently, the firm began 
diverting some of its dirty 
water to a "solar aquatics" 
system — a big greenhouse in 
which waste water runs 

through a series of tanks 
fiiiod wi:h a variety of plant 
life. bac:e-" a. snails,' and fish. 
The system will eventually 
handle 10 percent of the 
company's waste stream. 

The waste-disposal situa- 
tion calls for aggressive 
measures, owing to the 
potency of dairy residues. "A 
five-gallon pail of our 
ice-cream mix is comparable 
in terms of water pollution to 
a truckload of domestic 
sewage," explains facilities 
supervisor Gary Audy. 


"We want to make cutting 
waste part of our everyday 

consciousness, not just a 
one-day, Earth-day type of 
thing," Michalak adds. 

— Steve Nadis 

"Television is democracy 
at its ugliest. " 

— Paddy Chayelsky 


In an effort to make doing 
the laundry, well, not 
exactly fun, but less 

environmentally burden- 
some, a Florida company 
has developed a laundry 
system that does away with 
detergents, hot water — and 
the rinse cycle, too. 

Ozone is the key to the 
innovative system devised 
by Tri-O-Clean of Fort 
Pierce. The versatile gase- 
ous molecule, easily manufac- 
tured, consists of three 
atoms of oxygen, and it can 
lift all but the heaviest 
grease out of soiled clothes 
by breaking down the 
organic structure of ordi- 
nary dirt and grime. It has 
trouble with lipstick and 
really heavy industrial 
grease, but what washing 
machine doesnt? 

The laundry system 
consists of a series of 
holding tanks, filters, and 
pumps, as well as an ozone 
generator and injector. 
Water combined with ozone 
flows through clothes, 
loosening the dirt and 

breaking down its structure. 
The decomposed dirt is 
absorbed into the waste 
water, which then runs 
bsc* into a Holding tank for 
reuse. It can be recycled 
hundreds of times before 
new water must be added. 

"Normally you need 
three gallons of water to 
wash a pound of .clothing," 
says Tri-O-Clean managing 
director Charles W. Pear- 
sail. "With our system, you 
use one-eighth of that, so 
think how much water a 
commercial laundry that 
washes three million 
pounds of clothes a year 
could save." 

The system saves ener- 
gy as well as water 
because it uses cold water 
rather than hot — unstable 
ozone molecules actually 
dissipate faster in hot water, 
Pearsall adds. 

Current installations in- 
clude prisons and hotels, 
with hospitals and nursing 
homes being added. Tri-O- 
Clean entered the Japa- 
nese market early this year 
by forging an agreement 
wi".h Sumitomo Corporation. 
—George Nobbe 

ClOiV' ■■nsch'i-ic. iii'S coriirai>:.ior. 



In our August 1992 Issue, 

Omni published "A Modern 
Riddle of the Sphinx" by 
geologist Robert M. Schoch. 
The article detailed Schoch's 
research on the Great Sphinx 
of Giza and his controversial 
claim that it Is not 4,500 years 
old as Egyptologists believe, 
but rather 7,000 years old. 
Omni invited Schoch and two 
of his most prominent critics, 
Egyptologist Mark Lehner 
and geologist K. Lai Gauri, to 
comment further on the 
issue. Lehner and Gauri 
declined our invitation. Below 
is Schoch s response. 

In proposing a new dating 
schema for ihe Great 
Sphinx — that it was built in 
stages and that the earliest 
stage may date back to 5000 
B.C. rather than to Old 
Kingdom times of 2500 
B.C. — I have carefully consid- 
ered all relevant data. I am 
sure of my stratigraphic 
correlations. I am well aware 
of the nature of the limestone 
beds of which the Sphinx is 
carved; some layers are 
softer than others, and I have 
taken this into account in my 
analyses. Though we contin- 
ue to refine our knowledge of 
the details of the paleocli- 
matic history of the Giza 
Plateau over the last 10,000 
years, we already know 
enough to associate certain 
dominant modes of weather- 
ing with certain parts of that 
climatic history. Portions of 
the weathering on the body 
of the Sphinx predate Old 
Kingdom times. 

The analysis of the 
two -stage construction of 
temples associated with the 

Sphinx and the multiple 
repairs to the weathered and 
eroded body of the Sphinx — 
the oldest repairs date back 
to Old Kingdom times, 
according to Egyptologists — 
lend further support to a 
pre-Old Kingdom dating of 
the Sphinx's core body. 

The seismic analysis of 
dihorcntial weathering around 
the base of the Sphinx also 
corroborates the idea that the 
Sphinx was built in stages, 
the earliest stage dating to 

definitely not harder nor 
denser than the more deeply 
weathered areas. The consis- 
tency of the seismic 
profiles — and the fact that 
differing weathering depths 
can be recorded — is con- 
firmed by additional seismic 
profiles taken in other areas, 
including a north-south 
profile taken through the 
middle of the Sphinx Temple 
in front of the Sphinx. ■ 

Finally, though the Sphinx 
may be ihe earliest recog- 

Has the inscrutable Sphinx revealed 

well before Old Kingdom 
times. Other explanations 

proposed to account for the 
seismic/weathering profiles 
do not hold up to close 
scrutiny. The seismic profiles 
do not simply map a soft 
layer of rock; they map the 
true depth of weathering, 
which does not follow the 
bedding planes of the strata. 
The seismic analysis indi- 
cates that the limestone 
behind the rump of the 
Sphinx, where shallower 
wsatne-ring is recorded, may 
possibly be slightly softer 
than the limestone that is 
more deeply weathered; it is 

nred monumental structure 
in Egypt, even earlier 
massive stoneworks existed 
in other parts of the 
f ■/ ecfterrane an: The walled 
city. of Jericho, dating back to 
8000 B.C., sits only a few 
hundred miles away. 

Readers interested in a 
more detailed, referenced 
discission of the evidence 
for an older Sphinx should 
consult "Redating the Great 
Sphinx of Giza." by Robert M. 
Schoch, published in the 
Summer 1992 issue of KMT, 
A Modem Journal of Ancient 
Egypt, volume 3, number 2. 
— Robert M. Schoch 


A farmer stands in a field with 
a rake in one hand and a light 
sensor in the other. With the 
sensor, he checks on the 
well-being of his plants. 

This unusual rustic scene 
is predicted by British 
sc enlists who have geneti- 
cally engineered plants that 
give off a light-blue glow 
when Ihey're suffering from 
an ailment, such as drought, 
Iros; exposure, or fungal 
attack. The amount of light 
the sick plants emit, the 
researchers say, identifies 
the specific problem. And 
eventually, these plants can 
be positioned in a field so 
that they give a farmer a 
reading of the health of his 
entire crop. 

The scientists at Ed- 
inburgh University's Cell and 
Molecular Biology Institute 
started by extracting a tiny 
amount of DfMA from a 
glowing Pacific jellyfish. They 
next inserted it into such 
plants as tobacco, potato, 
and a type of cress. When 
ihes-c plants feel "stress," 
their calcium levels rise and 
react with a protein made by 
the gene, producing a faint, 
sky-blue light. The amount of 
light increases with the 
plants' stress level. 

"The beauty of it is that the 
farmer receives warning that 
his crop is in danger before 
the damage is done," says 
Marc Knight, a member of 
the research team. 

— Ivor Smullen 

"Being a philos- 
opher, I have a problem 
for every solution. " 

— Robert Zend 



The Ruminations o f John Allen Paulos 

Article By Janet Stites 

X his is not a test. You won'i 
need a No. 2 pencil, a sharpener, slide rule, or pocket protec- 
tor. If you don't know how to figure pi or that there are an infi- 
nite number of prime numbers, no problem. You won't be fac- 
toring any polynomials or inverting matrixes. 'You don't even 
need to know what a polynomial is. Put away your calculator. 
Pull out your common sense. Have a seat while Temple pro- 
fessor John Allen Paulos, 47, mathematician and writer, dispels 
the myth that Americans are hopelessly innumerate— that is, un- 
able to deal comfortably with the fundamental notions of num- 
ber and chance. Innumerate maybe; hopelessly, not. 

It's been said there are two types of people in the world— 
those who divide the world into two types of people and those 
who don't, It's also been said that there are those who can di- 
vide and those who can't, left brainers, right brainers, numer- 
ates and Enumerates, those who ponder pi and those who eat 
it, Paulos wants the segregation to stop, Saying someone can't 
learn math, Paulos warns, is equivalent to saying someone can't 
learn to read. 

"You see someone who can understand anything," Paulos 
says, "the most complicated legal nuances, the most intricate 
emotional transactions, and with numbers, their eyes glaze and 

Photography By Peter Liepke 

"Mathematics is messy, full of false starts, deadends. Half the time, it's incoherent.' 

their gut-level common sense evapo- 
rates." Paulos attributes this to a sim- 
ple fear of math fostered by an educa- 
tional system that emphasizes practice 
without incorporating concept, by pro- 
fessional mathematicians who retreat 
into theoretical speculation, by gender 
myths, and by a disregard for critical 
thinking. "Math is thinking," he says, 
"thinking about numbers, about space, 
quantitative relationships. It's akin to 
logic and common sense." 

Ominous, Paulos calls the growing di- 
chotomy between research mathema- 
ticians who are experimenting with the 
emerging sciences of chaos and com- 
plexity, rethinking the relationship be- 
tween philosophy and math, and lay- 
people — high-school sophomores sti- 
fled by algebra, grocers inundated by 
shoppers when there's a 20-percent 
chance of snow (which, of course, 
means there's an 80-percent chance 
that it won't snow), and people who 
feel perfectly safe driving without seat 
belts but won't get on a plane, fearing 
it will crash. "Certainly the mathematical 
and technical elite in this country are 
the best in the world," Paulos says. "Peo- 
ple come here from all over to go to grad- 
uate school. But people don't come 
here to go to junior high. The knowl- 
edge doesn't filter down." Indeed, of 
the 1,050 people who received Ph.D.'s 
from universities in the United States in 
mathematical sciences during the pe- 
riod July 1991 to June 1992, less than 
half, 430, were U.S. citizens, according 
to the American Mathematical Society. 
Of the U.S. citizens, 103 were women; 
6 were black — figures that give the 
word minority a whole new context. 

This situation, Paulos insists, 
doesn't have to be. There is no genet- 
ic code, he says, predetermining that 
someone will have trouble figuring a 6- 
percenf sales tax on a ten-dollar sale. 
To help solve the math problem in this 
country and to reduce the gap between 
people who can't subtract and those 
who do Fourier analyses in their offic- 
es, he published in 1989 tnnumeracy: 
Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Conse- 
quences, which stayed on the New 
York Times best-seller list for 18 weeks — 
a surprise to Paulos and his publishers 
and, perhaps, a sign that innumerates 
secretly yearn to conquer their math pho- 
bias, /nnumeracyintroduces readers to 
a conceptual approach to numbers, sta- 
tistics, and mathematical problems. For 
example, commenting on the common, 
almost flippant, transposition of millions 
and billions, Paulos writes, "It takes on- 
ly about eleven and a half days for a 
million seconds to tick away, whereas 
almost thirty-two years are required for 
a billion seconds to pass." Or, he 
36 OMNI 

adds, trying to help us grasp magni- 
tudes, "Agriculture's been here for ap- 
proximately 300 billion seconds (10,000 
years) and writing for about 150 billion 
seconds, but rock music's the newcom- 
er — appearing about one billion sec- 
onds ago." And the nuclear weapons 
on board just one of our Trident subma- 
rines, he asserts, "contain eight times 
the firepower expended in all of World 
War II." 

It's figures like the last one that 

■ in: rrvjd pOQpIO 

understand. If a shopper thinks a coal 
that's been marked down 40 percenl 
and then another 40 percent has been 
marked down 80 percent, that's discour- 
aging, he says. It's potentially disas- 
trous, however, if people don't under 
stand that the annual Defense Depart- 
ment budget of about a quarter of 
trillion dollars amounts to approximate- 
ly $4,000 per year for a family of foui 

is no genetic code pre- 
that someone will have 

figuring a six-percent 

sales tax 
on a ten-dollar sale. 9 

He calls the first simply bad decision 
making; the second, blindness. 

"I'm distressed," he passionately 
says, "by a society which depends so 
completely on mathematics and sci- 
ence and yet seems so indifferent to the 
innumeracy and scientific illiteracy of so 
many of its citizens, with a military that 
spends one quarter of a trillion dollars 
each year on ever smarter weapons for 
ever more poorly educated soldiers, 
and with the media, who invariably be- 
come obsessed with this hostage on an 
airliner or that baby who has fallen into 
a well and seem insufficiently passion- 
ate when it comes to addressing prob- 
lems such as urban crime, environmen- 
tal deterioration, or poverty." 

In print, Paulos can be justifiably point- 
ed with his criticisms of innumerates 
and particularly intolerant of weather 
forecasters who pass off a 50-percent 
chance of rain on Saturday and a 50- 
percent chance of rain on Sunday as a 
100-percent chance that it will rain over 
the weekend. He is vexed by people 
who can quote Hamlet but brag about 

nol being able to balance their check 
books: "I'm a people person, not a num- 
bers person." Sit down with Paulos, how- 
ever, and you find that his intolerance 
is frustration, that he has a general sym- 
pathy for innumerates and rests as 
much blame on educational methods 
and cultural myths as the individual. He 
is quiet, seemingly more philosopher 
than scientist. He is funny, but because 
he is quiet, his humor is often missed, 
disregarded as an afterthought. He mum- 
bles and digresses. 

A doctorate in mathematics from the 
University of Wisconsin, Paulos has writ- 
ten four books. His first, Mathematics 
and Humor, is a lighthearted treatise on 
how much of humor — particularly rid- 
dles, paradoxes, and non sequiturs— 
is based on mathematical models. 
"Keep Litter in Its Place," the sign 
reads, which by definition of "litter" 
means "the ground." In his second, / 
Think Therefore I Laugh, Paulos relies 
on his background in the philosophy of 
math to link humor, philosophy, and 
mathematics: "This sentance has 
three erors."'His third is fnnumeracy. 
His fourth, Beyond Numeracy, he 
wrote for fans of Innumeracy who want- 
ed more math. 

On the wall behind Paulos' desk in 
the math building at Temple is a pho- 
tograph of British philosopher and math- 
ematical logician, Bertrand Russell, who 
wrote often on the relationship between 
philosophy and mathematics, of which 
Paulos is fascinated. Russell was a po- 
litical activist, an outspoken critic of eve- 
rything from World War I to the mores 
of the church, often at the cost of jobs 
and friends. While lecturing in China in 
1954, he became so ill that he was 
thought dead. One obituary notice in a 
missionary journal read, "Missionaries 
may be pardoned for breathing a sigh 
of relief at the news of Mr. Bertrand 
Russell's death." 

But Russell disappointed the mission- 
aries and went on writing and working, 
organizing the Campaign for Nuclear Dis- 
armament, taking up the cause of 
Jews in Russia, and even serving as 
president of the British "Who Killed Ken- 
nedy? Committee" until his death in 
1970. "It isn't common for people with 
a mathematical or scientific background 
to be involved in public issues," 
Paulos says, and it's evident that Rus- 
sell's work has been an inspiration for 
Paulos' own writing. The philosopher's 
response to a letter Paulos wrote him 
as a college student is even included 
in Russell's autobiography. 

Russell's paradox stated in terms of 
set theory involves a certain set in 
which N is a member of itself if and on- 
ly if it is not a member of itself. Or in 




r ' | 1 '|"|™™i k /if* , l 1 T \ 71 *C~* Imagine waking from a 

I 1 l-H (X/I^Sr^ I \/ \~^ ^N na P in a near-future 

M. M. JLJ—uJL ▼ 1 l^^ I 4 \ dV r VS...-* time, finding yourself be- 

bumper of the automobile ahead of you 

car tucked just a few 1 

''"^l 1 T "\ 71 l^ Imagine waking from a 
^^ I— < I \f l-H ^W nap in a near-future 
*_J I 4 \ dV r VS.,-* time, finding yourself be- 
■eening at 65 miles per hour just a few feet behind the 
J of yours. Naturally, you stomp on the brake, but nothing 
and fortunately for you — and about a dozen other dozing 
ad your brakes activated, you would have wiped out the 
■ behind yours, and the one behind 
— ■■ . ■ ■ — - veling in a platoon, a group of cars 
de^^w^^^ clicked into autopilot, zooming to 
-■■?-**M*- rarily sharing space with other cars 

your destination, tempo- lWB''W#&w- rarily sharing space with other cars 

in a highly congested cor- ' — ' ' ridor. The vehicles steer themselves 

by following a guidance signal transmitted from sensors in the cars. Other sensors and 
microprocessors and communication gear aboard each car create invisible couplers, en- 
abling the group to pack together bumper to bumper. It's like riding in a private compart- 
ment aboard a train. But when it's time for you to exit the freeway, the car takes you off 
the ramp and you take the wheel again to make your way independently to home or 

■' " sekend r— — ~ 

in Licwiu-uNUKtsu itjyiuiis ni\c me 4_.r\. basin, 
rivinn will first appear probably around 2010. * 

neasures increase highway 

less pollution. They'll make roads safer and more orderly, eliminating human mis- ■ 
judgments that cause most accidents. And the systems will remove the remaining drudg- 
ery from driving, freeing motorists to use travel time for fun or profit. "IVHS (Intelligent 
Vehicle and Highway Systems) will ultimately rewrite the whole book on transportation, 
on land use, on the choices people make about where they work and where they live," 
says John Vostrez, director of research and technology for IVHS America, the Washington- 
based transportation advisory group that unites politicians, inventors, business execu- 
tives, and scientists. J£>J^ But t0 reach its fu " ' --— — potential, automatic 

driving requires chang-" \ es, concessions,^^ ■ and compromises from 

transportation con- ■ ■ \t - w . ■■■■ , <- ig i sumers and creators 

alike. Auto companies | j ■ ■_■;' ■■■■^~ J >-- : --v' ■ .. ^ | must work cooperative- 

ly on compi 
that will allow an uais 
in tight synchrony. J 
provide the electronic 
roads they own and 

will require a lot more I care and attention 

than many crumbling highways now re- 

ceive. Eventually, ind 

_ _ jnducting traf 
society decides th 

ways, tunnels, 
and bridges— your 

superceded by corn- 

infrastructure for the 
operate. This, in turn, 

mg | I highways now re- 

'*■ '' | viduals will have to 

' habits, learning to 

nt them to. People will have 

its too, purchasing autos specially outfitted to run in coordi- 

■ — "3, IVHS America estimates that the creation and de- 

_. 1 high-way systems in the United States will require 

over 20 years. Most of that will be folded into the prices people pay 

ending is just beginning. The sweeping 1 991 U.S. Transpor 

,our driveway BY JEFFREY ZYGMONT 


As a human assistant, automatic driving aims to augment 
decision making, or take over entirely, only under certain 
conditions, as when a car enlists in a platoon. But research 
already shows that unmanned robot cars may yet arrive. 

The Transportation Institute of Texas A&M University 
created a self-piloting Dodge Caravan minivan by mak- 
ing surprisingly scant additions: two video cameras for 
vision with depth perception, a Compaq 386 personal com- 
puter for brain power, and actuators from Johnson Con- 
trols for handicapped drivers. "It's all equipment that you 
can go down to your local dime store to buy," says 
Sadler Bridges, deputy director of the Institute. 

The van was taught to recognize stop signs and to con- 
voy behind another vehicle. But its MS-DOS computer 
brain posed limitations. Because DOS performs only one 
task at a time, Texas A&M's robot car couldn't turn its 
camera eyes and its wheels at the same time in order to 
follow a car around a sharp turn. 

In Japan, Nissan also relies on video cameras in its 
Personal Vehicle System. "The PVS is capable of running 
autonomously to a specified destination without receiv- 
ing any support from the road by detecting white lines 

on the road surface and by avoiding obstacles in its 
path," reported researcher Akio Hosaka at a-meeting of 
the Transportation Research Board last year. 
- Thafs every bit as hard as it sounds. Fuzzy logic and 
expert systems, both forms of artificial intelligence, per- 
form control functions and determine speed and corner- 
ing angles. The Fujitsu image-processing system includes 
measures to dampen the blurring caused by vehicle mo- 
tion, and it sorts cut breaks in the lane-marking stripes 
caused by passing cars. 

Even that's not enough. In describing the complicated 
mental and physical process by which a driver maneu- 
vers past an obstacle, Hosaka notes that a person even 
predicts how the relative position between car and barri- 
er may change. Such mental finesse performed in ordi- 
nary driving is still well beyond practical computing ca- 
pabilities; the variables on ordinary urban roadways are 
simply too numerous. Therefore, it will be a long time be- 
fore unmanned automobiles can even traverse a city 
block. Hosaka suggests starting out on more controlled 
environments like freeways, where kids are less likely to 
bounce a ball in front of the car. 

today relies entirely on your sight, hear- 
ing, proprioception, and kinesthesia for 
guidance, and on your limbs for con- 
trol. But if it features antilock brakes or 
traction control, as many do, your car 
is already taking over. Eventually, it 
will assume total control through de- 
vices that monitor such variables as 
road speed, turning angle, the amount 
of gas pouring into the engine, and the 
level of braking being applied. Radar 
will detect the position and even com- 
pute the speed of vehicles on the road 
around you. As your car "sees" ap- 
proaching obstacles, as it "senses" the 
roughness of the pavement and "con- 
verses" with street-side information 
posts and even with other vehicles, its 
microprocessor brain will activate elec- 
tromechanical motors that control steer- 
ing, accelerating, slowing, and cruising. 
On priority roadways — urban freeways, 
tunnels, and bridges — your car's own 
decision making might be superseded 
by commands from a traffic monitoring 
center that integrates vehicles in a co- 
ordinated traffic pattern, like air-traffic 
control. "It will be a modern version of 
the highway, where a lot of the functions 
of the driver will be controlled by the 
highway itself," says Randolph Hall, a 
manager for California's Partnership for 
Advanced Transit and Highways. 

Called PATH, the organization rides 
the forefront of automatic driving. 
When the car-pool lane of Interstate 15 
near San Diego closes after rush hour, 
PATH researchers test four Ford cars 
electronically tied into a single file — so 
40 OMNI 

far at speeds up to 75 miles per hour. 
PATH researchers also teamed with the 
company IMRA America and are work- 
ing on automatic steering. A magnetom- 
eter beneath the car reads the field cre- 
ated by a trail of magnets embedded 
along the center of the lane. PATH 
aims to combine the two capabilities to 
demonstrate platooning on a real free- 
way by 2001. 

The advent of automatic driving 
comes as a happy confluence of tech- 
nology and societal need. By 1990, 
America brimmed with 143 million reg- 
istered cars, about one automobile for 
every two residents, cites the Federal 
Highway Administration (FHA). That 
same year, the average American 
male spent more than 16,500 miles on 
the road, nearly 20 percent more than 
the 14,000 miles he drove In 19.83, 
says the FHA. Female drivers increased 
their highway usage nearly 50 percent 
during the same period, averaging 
about 9,543 miles annually by 1990. 
The resulting traffic congestion, along 
with the hazards and pollution it 
breeds, cries out for a solution. IVHS 
America — which serves as a coordinat- 
ing body, encouraging industry and gov- 
ernment to work together toward improv- 
ing land transportation through a wide 
range of technologies — estimates that 
each commuter experiencing a ten- 
minute daily delay sacrifices up to 
$1,200 annually in lost time and extra 
fuel. The U.S. government's General Ac- 
counting Office prices the annual pro- 
ductivity loss from traffic congestion at 

about $100 billion nationwide. It can on- 
ly get worse: Since the 1960s, the num- 
ber of vehicles registered in the States 
has grown faster than the population, 
according to FHA figures. And the Na- 
tional Highway Traffic Safety Administra- 
tion estimates traffic accidents cost U.S. 
consumers $130 billion annually. 

Better technology may be the only 
alternative to eventual limits and restric- 
tions on motor travel. A 1991 report to 
the Senate Subcommittee on Transpor- 
tation by the General Accounting Office 
found that automated highway systems 
could increase road capacity by as 
much as 300 percent "by allowing vehi- 
cles to travel closer together at higher 
speeds." Projections by PATH find that 
the capacity of a freeway lane could in- 
crease to 6,000 cars per hour from the 
current average of about 2,200. 

Even better, those 6,000 cars would 
drive themselves so well that traffic 
would actually move, not lurch and 
stop and crawl and stall. "You can min- 
imize stream turbulence in congested 
traffic," says PATH director Don Orne. 
Stream turbulence starts when brake 
lights appear. As following drivers re- 
act, a shock wave passes through traf- 
fic, sometimes stopping cars that are far 
behind the original incident. 

Human reaction — especially over- 
and underreaction — is the bogeyman of 
auto motion. "The majority of accidents 
are due to errors by the driver," says 
Hall. Computers are simply less error 
prone, providing consistency and pre- 
cision. Automatic driving can also 



Smart laterials W 

From bridges Bracing against gale-force wind, the 50-story skyscraper on Miami's 
beachfront stiffens its skeleton like a giant Sumo wrestler under vi- 
cious attack. The tiny processors embedded in its walls enable the 
structure to stiffen with each new punch of the wind, avoiding the 
destruction caused by killer hurricanes of the past. Meanwhile, a hun- 
dred miles offshore, a submarine slithers smoothly through the wa- 
ter, avoiding debris and currents by curving its 200-foot-long sinu- 
ous body like a whale. And a thousand miles away, in New York Cfty, 
a jumbo jet pummeled by violent turbulence finally lands and pulls 
up at the gate. The plane has suffered subtle damage — a tiny stress 
fracture just above the port engine. In the old days, the plane might 
have taken a hundred more journeys before the fracture was large 
enough to be found. But airline mechanics know just how to repair 
the tiny rift, thanks to instructions from the body-sensitive — and ver- 
bally gifted — plane. 

Scientists are already making the first embryonic versions of intel- 
ligent materials that sometime in the next century will animate struc- 
tures from buildings and roads to submarines and planes. The first 
generation of glass fibers that mimic the human nervous system — warn- 

Article By Gurney Williams III • Photographs By Greg Vaughn 

to submarines to 

the wails of 

your home, the 

materials of 

the constructed 

world will take 

on the animated 

character of a 

Disney cartoon. 

"In the future, material and machine will be designed as one." 

ing of danger before structural 

failure — is insinuating its way into 
airplane wings at trie University of 
Toronto. Sensitive rope for mountain 
climbing, developed by the Cairngorm 
Climbing Rope Company and the 
University of Strathclyde in Scotland, 
changes color to highlight damaging 
stress. Researchers in Illinois are 
equipping dumb concrete with 
enough smarts to bleed fluid, as 
needed, to fight corrosion. 

Other more intelligent materials 
already under study not only detect 
the environment, but also react to 
it by instantly curing small stress 
fractures, smothering noise, and even 
changing shape or internal tension like 
muscles Some researchers in Palo 
Alto predict that all of these devices 
are prelude to an age when hundreds 

Center for Intelligent Material Systems 
and Structures (CIMSS) at Virginia 
Polytechnic Institute and State 
University in Blacksburg. Glancing 
about a single large room, one sees 
what seems like an ensemble of 
talking toys 'reminiscent of a Disney 
cartoon. A sensitive wire trailing 
across the floor generates a youthful 
self-portrait on 
a small video 
screen. The 
image looks 
like a bold line 
of Tinkerbeli 
gold dust. 
Pinch the wire 
along its six- 
foot length 
and the trail on 

resident Gepetto is none other than 
Virginia Tech's own Craig Rogers, 
Ph.D. "It's going to be even more 
difficult in the future than it is now to 
distinguish between the material and 
the machine," says Rogers, a boyish 
and bespectacled professor as 
animated as one of his smart 
machines. "Material and machine are 
simply going to be more integrated. 
They're going to be designed as one." 
One of the most pervasive skills of 
the new smart materials will be an 
uncanny ability to sense danger and 
avert problems before they even 
occur. In fact, the prospect of 
accidents and natural disasters 
motivates much of the smart-materials 
research today. Some mention as an 
example a single aircraft crisis in April 
1988 that underlined the need for 

or thousands of tiny reasoning 
machines will permeate the walls of 
every home. These computers, salted 
through virtually all our material 
possessions and almost every cubic 
foot of a room, will endow ordinary 
surfaces and objects with enough 
pure intelligence to run and repair 
themselves, respond to environmental 
conditions and emergencies, and 
adapt to our human idiosyncrasies 
and needs. 

The beginnings of this brave new 
world are laid out for all to see at the 

44 OMNI 

the screen wakes up: The golden line 
dips at a point corresponding exactly 
to where you've tweaked the wire. On 
another bench-.across the room, a 
smart stick clamped in a vise also 
reacts to human contact. Pluck its 
end, and it vibrates like a miniature 
diving board on its side — until its 
computer brain tells it to fight the 
shakes and calm down. Then with the 
equivalent of fast-twitch muscles, it 
steadies itself, like a yogi, back into 
stillness. If the Blacksburg lab is any 
indication, Pinocchio lives. And the 

passive warning 
systems compara- 
ble to the pain 
network in the 
human body. A 
19-year-old Boeing 
737 peeled open 
over Hawaii when 
roof rivets gave 
way. A flight attend- 
ant died after she 
was swept through 
an 18-foot-long 
hole above the passengers' heads, 
and 61 of the 94 others aboard Aloha 
Airlines flight 243 were injured before 
the plane landed safely on Maui. The 
National Transportation Safety Board 
in Washington later blamed the airline 
for failing to detect metal fatigue that 
caused the accident. The detection 
would have been child's play for some 
of the smart-material systems under 
development at the Fiber Optic Smart 
Structures Laboratory at the University 
of Toronto. In one project involving the 
Boeing deHavilland DASH-8 aircraft, 


«-> minoxidil 71, 

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How sttaetlve Is ROGAINE? 

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docror. Patients taking a blood pressure medicine called gitanelhidine should not use ROGAINE. 
Should any precautions be followed? 

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Pregnanl women and nursinr — *■■— -■ 
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ely and ebeciiyeness of F0 

hair-thin fiber c ptic strands iace the lead- 
ing edge of a wing like nerves embed- 
ded in human skin. Light piped 
through the strands appears as pale 
red parallel lines spaced about half an 
inch apart on the wing. But at points of- 
even modest damage, -the red laser 
light bleeds profusely from fractured op- 
tical fibers. With this stunning technol- 
ogy, failure points on flight 243 would 
have looked like open wounds. 

More complicated sensors under 
study in the Toronto lab don't require 
human inspection at all. One's called 
the Fabry-Perot system, named after the 
two Frenchmen who invented the ba- 
sic idea for use in barometers in the nine- 
teenth century. Laser light fired down 
"a fiber enters a kind of "hall of mirrors" — 
a chamber as small as a millimeter 
long — formed by two tiny reflective sur- 
faces. Twisting, stretching, or compress- 
ing the fiber will aher ine intensity of the 
light, sending a clear SOS to a comput- 
erized detector. An advanced version 
of this device can even measure 
strains in specific locations on the fiber. 
Wings and fuselages equipped with doz- 
ens of these sensing regions, checked 
continuously by laser beams, could pin- 
point problems and alert pilots. And en- 
gineer and lab director Raymond fvl. 
Measures imagines that such fiber- 
based nervous systems will take off in 
more than just future aircraft. Networks 
of fibers could- line the walls of nuclear 
reactors or storage vessels for hazard- 
ous materials, signaling danger before 
cracks appear. Similar sensors lining 
the walls ol buildings could save lives 
as well. "One of the most serious ques- 
tions after an earthquake, for example, 
is knowing which building you evacu- 
ate first because of internal damage 
and the prospect ol aftershocks," Meas- 
ures notes. "If buildings were fabricat- 
ed with a resident sensing system, en- 
dangered structures could send signals 
to rescue workers, who would know 
just which residents to evacuate first." 

A few notches up the material I.Q. 
scale are things that not only sense 
their own condition, but — like the hu- 
man immune system — actively fight de- 
terioration or damage. At the Universi- 
ty of Illinois at Champaign, architect 
Carolyn Dry designs smart systems to 
stop corrosion in bridges or any struc- 
tures made of reinforced concrete. Con- 
crete itself in its dumb form is a wise 
choice for construction, she says. It's 
cheap, and generally strong. But it has 
two weaknesses: It's brittle, increasing 
the chance for cracking under loads, 
and it's porous, allowing water to seep 
through and corrode, metal-reinforcing 
beams called rebars. Engineers deal 
with britileness by adding fibers to con- 

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crete to make it more flexible. "So I 
thought: What if you just combined the 
fibers with something to alter the chemis- 
try from the inside?" Dry says. In pre- 
liminary work at her lab, she wraps con- 
crete with hollow protective fibers that 
look like angel-hair spaghetti. To make 
a smart strand, she fills each fiber with 
liquid calcium nitrite, an orange anticor- 
rosive chemical. Then she seals the "spa- 
ghetti" with poiyol, a waxy coating that 
dissolves in salt water. When moisture 
threatens a portion of a rebar, the near- 
est strand melts and bleeds enough 
chemical to provide protection. Dry is 
also drawing up plans to heal cracks 
by blending similar fibers into concrete. 
Hairline splits in bridge or road materi- 
al would fracture fibers to release a 
giue, curing the crack on the spot. 

Dry's long-term dream is to create ma- 
terials with the life cycle of an animal 
or human. "My paradigm is that when 
you put a material into the environment, 
it adapts over time and is eventually recy- 
cled." It would become a laboratory ver- 
sion, in other words, of birth, growth, 
death, and rebirth. 

No one has yet built the Adam and 
Eve machines to live through the full cy- 
cle — a self-healing bridge or airliner. 
But today's labs are already incubating 
body parts comparable to the slow- 
twitch muscles that propel distance run- 
ners in a marathon and the fast-twitch 
muscles that fire sprinters in the hun- 
dred-yard dash. 

The slow-moving, slow-twitch mate- 
rials include shape- memo'ry alloys 
(SIvlAsj like nitinol, a combination of nick- 
el and titanium. At room temperature, 
you can bend nitinol into any shape with- 
out breaking it. But when you heat it 
over a flame or warm it with an electric 
heating wire, nitinol returns in seconds 
to its preset shape — and pushes or 
pulls powerfully against anything that 
tends to constrict it. 

You can watch animated nitinol in 
Craig Rogers' lab. Moving in slow mo- 
tion, the small model of an aircraft 
wing is flat on the bottom and curved 
on the top, Nitinol wires inside the 
wing stretch I <e gu tar strings from the 
trailing edge up to the top of the 
curve. When these wires are heated, 
they contract, pulling the trailing edge 
down. Built full-scale, such a wing 
would have no flaps; instead, the 
whole structure would change shape as 
needed, like the wing of a bird. 

At Catholic University of America in 
Washington, DC, researchers are al- 
ready building a prototype of a smart 
helicopter blade equipped with nitinol. 
The SMA wires, 22 thousandths of an 
inch in diameter and a few inches 
long, run through the width of the 

blade from edge to edge. Current 
through these wires causes the wires to 
heat and contract, tugging the blade 
edges together with about 25 pounds 
of force per wire. When it's especially 
turbulent aloft, the energy of the wind 
will stimulate the current, warming the 
wires and firming up the blade like a 
tensed muscle. As a result, the copter 
in flight would be more resistant to wind- 
induced stress. 

The goal at Catholic is using tensing- 
relaxing SMAs to build a chopper like 
a mosquito, whose wings and body can 
turn to steel in a storm. "We're trying to 
design lightweight equipment so you 
can add more payload without compro- 
mising the helicopter structure, which 
stiffens up when needed to prevent dam- 
age," says Catholic University mechani- 
cal engineer Amr Baz, whose work is 
funded by a three-year S300,000 U.S. 
Army grant. Smart blades might- fly in 
real helicopters in the near future. 

Meanwhile, as slow-twitch muscles in 
copters pump iron, other smart materi- 
als work like the fast-twitch muscles in 
your eyelid. The fast-twitch model in 
Craig Roger's lab, for instance, is a met- 
al stick extending a few inches out 
from a vise. When you bat its end, it 
hums in vibration. 

But every swing of this shaking stick 
is picked up by an inch-square patch 
taped to one side and connected to a 
nearby personal computer. The patch 
is piezoelectric, an off-white material 
made of baked ceramics and polymers. 
Piezoelectrics produce an electronic 
signal — a message to the computer— 
every time they're bent or squeezed. 
And they react faster than an eye blink 
by twitching when electric current 
flows through them. The computer sam- 
ples the current from the piezoelectric 
sensor 150 times a second to gather 
enough data to calculate a way to stop 
the shaking. Then, with precise timing 
to dampen the vibration, the computer 
zaps current to other piezoelectric patch- 
es that generate forces equal to but op- 
posite the motion of the stick. In less 
than two seconds, these sensors can- 
cel out the energy in the stick, and the 
shaking stops. 

Similar sensors, meanwhiie, can al- 
so absorb vibrations caused by sound 
waves. Rogers' lab has already built sil- 
very curtains of piezoelectric material 
that catch and kill noise. He raises his 
right hand in the air, like a prizefighter, 
to explain how the curtain works. 
"Think of incoming noise as pressure 
waves," he says, punching his hand for- 
ward. "And your hand is the curtain. 
Now if every time I push, you're pulling 
away at exactly the same time — like a 
boxer dodging a punch — then I can't 


Political and economic anarchy threatens to destroy the 
very existence of Russian science. As institutions falter, 
desperate scientists scramble to make deals with West- 
ern corporations, and scientific and philanthropic organizations ral- 
ly their own dwindling resources to keep science alive in the former 
Soviet Union. But is it enough to preserve the foundation of scientific 
research vital to a nation undergoing such cataclysmic change? 

Collaboration is 
the only way to 
resurrect our 
industry," Dr. 
Boris Babaian tells 
the packed house of 
reporters assembled 
ai the posh wa- 
terfront hotel south 
of San Francisco, 
The 60-year-old 
Babaian. a sturdy 
man with bushy 
eyebrows, coarse 
Mediterranean fea- 
tures, and an incan- 
descent smile, 
doesn't look like the 
computer wizard 
who invented the 
Soviet Union's su- 
percomputers. But 
behind the avuncu- 
lar exterior lies a wily 
survivor who nav- 

igated for more than 
30 years through the 
treacherous Soviet 
bureaucracy and 
kept his legendary 
design team intact in 
the face of an 
abortive political 
coup and economic 

On a crystal-clear 
day this past Sep- 
tember, Babaian, ac- 
companied by a 
handful of his super- 
stars, traveled from 
Siberia to Silicon 
Valley — light-years in 
psychic miles — fo 
discuss a joint com- 
deal with Sun 
Microsystems, one 
of America's most 
innovative computer 
companies. "This 
commercial agree- 
ment makes it possi- 
ble to continue our 
work," Babaian says 
of the capitalist 
baptism of these 

former Communists, 
flashing his trade- 
mark smile. "Other- 
wise, our team 
would have been 

The folks at Sun 
are equally thrilled. 
"This is not an 
addition, but a multipli- 
cation of forces," 
says Sun's CEO, 
Scott McNealy, beam- 
ing with pride. It truly 
is an historic agree- 
ment. They're pio- 
neers. They're con- 
tributing to world 
peace — and they're 
probably going to 
make plenty of 
money, loo. 

Slightly different 
versions of this 
scene are playing 
themselves out in 
laboratories, govern- 
ment agencies, 

universities, and 
boardrooms as. sci- 
entists from the 
former Soviet Union 
(FSU), once brand- 
ed the enemy, are 
now warmly em- 
braced by Corpo- 
rate America and 
the scientific com- 
munity. It's all part of 
an ad hoc mission to 
prevent the- collapse 
of the FSU's vaunted 
technological and 
scientific enterprise, 
which has fallen on 
some hard times* 

To help preserve 
Russia's scientific 
infrastructure, Con- 
gress has earmarked 
$400 million to dis- 
mantle the former 
empire's nuclear ar- 
senal, and more aid 
may be on the way, 
American financier 
George Soros has 
pledged $100 mil- 
lion over the next 
two years to provide 

funds for research, 
equipment, and sci- 
entific institutions. 
Government agen- 
cies and scientific 
and philanthropic or- 
ganizations have 
launched more mod- 
es: assistance and 
collaborative re- 
search programs. A 
number of compa- 
nies, acting out of 
enlightened seff- 
interest, are tapping 
into this vast — and 
remarkably cheap — 
pool of scientific 
talent through joint 
ventures like the 
partnership between 
Boris Babaian's soft- 
ware team and Sun 

Some question 
this bailout, howev- 
er, when American 

Russia's glorious scientific tradition includes excellence in "black- 
board" disciplines, like theoretical physics and applied mathemat- 
ics, innovations in computer software design that compensate for a 
lack of basic technology, and an amazingly consistent space program. 

■ jisniists are hus- 
ii. ng for dwindling 
-■.isearch dotiars and. 
younger researchers 
.ire being forced out 
cecause they can't. 
get grants. After all, 
•■ley argue; an entire 
^SU institute could 
he supported for a 
vear on the. salary of 
:i postdoctoral stu- 
dent, so- the Rus- 
sians are simply 
taking jobs away 
from Americans. But 
others believe this 
unofficial scientific 
Marshall Plan is vital ■ 
to the future not only 
of the former Soviet 
Union, but to sci- 
ence itself. 

Indeed,- the pic- 
ture experts paint of 
the current condi- 
tions within the 
FSU's scientific com- 
munity appears pret- 
ty grim, The free- 
market economy 
certainly flourishes, 
and the well-stocked 
k=osks that line 
Moscow's Streets 
sell the same items — 
and keep the same 
hours — as conven- 
ience stores. "If you 
are affluent or a 
foreigner with hard 
currency, you can 
live a relatively 
normal life," says 
Harley Balzer, direc- 
tor of Russian Area 
Studies at George- 
town University in 
WiisiM'-gicr. DC 

Boris Banalan (Second from left) with his new Western colleagues. 

"But two-thirds. of 
the people can't live 
like that — and they 
resent it deeply." 

Runaway inflation 
has made the ruble 
practically worthless. 
Scientists' salaries 
no longer buy even 
basic necessities, 
essential equipment 
lies idle for want of 
spare parts, costs 
for subscriptions, to 
foreign journals and 
trips abroad to 
conferences — key 
links to- the interna- 
tional science frater- 
nity — are prohibitive, 
and more than a few 
of the prostitutes 
prowling Moscow's 
tonier bars are un- 
employed engineers. 
Desperate Russian 
scientists are selling 
any piece of. hard- 
ware that's not 
nailed down' in ex- 
change far hard 

But their biggest 

export is intellectual. 
More than 500 mem- 
bers of the Russian 
Academy of Scienc- 
es, along with thou- 
sands of other re- 
searchers, have emi- 
grated. About 8,000 
refugee Soviet scien- 
tists have flooded. 
into New York City 
alone in the past two 
years. These, defec- 
tions to the West, 
reminiscent of the 
scientific exodus out 
of Germany before 
.and after World War 
11, have left- many of 
the FSU's premier 
research institutes 
half empty. Even 
Moscow's legendary 
Lebedev Physical 
Institute, which pro- 
duced five Nobel 
Prize winners and 
once served as a 
bustling mecca. for 
the world's best 
theoreticians, is now 
eerily quiet. 

The internal brain 
drain is even worse, 
in a country where 
bus drivers earn 
~ore than chemical 
engineers, about '- 
;>JO,000 scientists 
rave gone into 

another line of work. 
The Russian Acade- 
my of Sciences just 
announced plans 
to slash staff in its 
300-plus scientific 
institutes by 40 
percent, which 
could displace an- 1 
other 25,000. Those ■ 
who remain are 
demoralized, work in 
many laboratories 
has stopped, and:a 
few disciplines face 
extinction- because 
the critical mass of 
researchers needed 
to stimulate each: 
other's work has 
vanished. Some fear 
an entire generation 
may be lost, threaten- 
ing the long-term 
survival of the 
world's largest work 
force of scientists 
and engineers. 

But why worry 
about the fate of 
researchers halfway 
around the world 
when the careers of 
some home-grown 

scientists are in 
jeopardy? "The dan- 
gers of doing noth- 
ing' are twofold," 
counters Balzer. 
"First, It would de- 
stroy a' system pf 
training large num- 
bers of good peo- 
ple. Plus, we'd lose 
some top-flight sci- 
entists. Potential No- 
bel Prize winners are 
already driving cabs 
in Moscow. Suppose 
they were the ones 
who would have 
found a cure for 
AIDS or a way to 
reverse ozone deple- 
tion? To waste a 
resource like this 
given global ecolog- 
ical and medical 
problems is tragic." 
Indeed, Soviet sci- 
entists were long 
stereotyped as the 
bumbling gang that 
couldn't shoot 
straight. But dec- 
ades of isolation 
combined with the 
lack of even basic 
technology sparked 
highly original and 
unusual solutions to 
science and. engi- 
neering problems. 
Pockets of innova- 
tion exist — in comput- 
er software, metallur- 
gy, materials sci- 
ence, high-energy 
physics, and- synthet- 
ic chemistry — where 
the Soviets are 
second io none. 
And in the so-called 

blackboard ci sc-iplines, like theoretical 
physics and applied mathematics, 
where the only tools required are a 
sharp pencil and a sharp mind, the for- 
mer Soviets simply know no peer. 

"The loss of that community, with its 
unique flavor, perspective, and culture, 
would be catastrophic," extols Irving 
Lerch, a professor of medical physics 
at New York University and director of 
international scientific affairs for the 
American Physical Society. "If they are 
forced to do science in another environ- 
ment, it will not be the same. It would 
be as if the Bolshoi Ballet or Tchai- 
kovsky were suddenly to disappear." 

Russia has a glorious scientific tra- 
dition — the Russian Academy of Scienc- 
es was founded in 1724 by Peter the 
Great — and ils dazzling achievements — 
in space exploration and nuclear phys- 
ics—have fueled a national pride that 
binds together the diverse national fties 
of the far-flung Soviet Empire. What's 
more, in a totalitarian state where 
thought was molded by communist ide- 
ology, science served as a refuge 
from the scourge of Stalinism for inde- 
pendent thinkers. 

Scientists like Andrei Sakharov, father 
of the Soviet H-bomb, used their pro- 
tected positions to push for reforms. "All 
the great dissidents — most of whom 
were scientists — had a profound impact 
on changing that society," says NYU's 
Lerch. "So if the former Soviet Union is 
to be democratized, we must assist 
those elements that are most respon- 
sible for these changes." 

Adding to the urgency of this increas- 
ingly dire situation is the fact that ex- 
pertise is perishable. The longer scien- 
tists' attention is focused on surviving 
bitter Russian winters rather than stay- 
ing current in their fields, the harder it 
will be for them to get back into the 
game. Arid modern science depends 
on teamwork. "If Russia does not keep 
its most productive scientific groups in- 
tact, it will be disastrous," warns Leon 
l.ederman, a Nobel Laureate physicist 
and the former president of the Ameri- 
can Association for the Advancement 
of Science (AAAS). "Everything de- 
pends on their becoming economical- 
ly viable." 

To help stem this alarming attrition, 
scientific organizations and government 
agencies have started or beefed up ex- 
isting programs to work on joint pro- 
jects, replenish needed equipment, and 
ship scientific journals to central Soviet 
inslilulions. In fact, one measure of the 
esteem with which FSU scientists are 
held is the outpouring of money and as- 
sistance from their colleagues in the 
West, even though many are battling ec- 
onomic woes of their own. 

The American Physical Society (APS) 
raised $100,000 from members and an 
additional $825,000 from philanthropic 
organizations such as the Soros, 
Sloan, and Meyer foundations and the 
National Science Foundation to fund 
FSU research. Similarly, the American 
Astronomical Society (A AS)., which has 
a far smaller membership than the APS_ 
collected $50,000 from its members, in- 
cluding a whopping $4,000 donation 
from a group of graduate students at 
the University of Hawaii. 

This money will provide journals and 
funding for grants selected from propos- 
als submitted by FSU scientists. 
Though the awards have been a paltry 
$100, they mean far more, due to the 
exchange rate. In addition, winning a 
peer-reviewed competition carries far 
more cachet than receiving a grant be- 
stowed like a party favor by the Soviet 
Union's top-down autocracy. "Part of 


Nobel Prize winners are 

driving cabs in 

Moscow. Suppose they were 

the ones who 
would have found a cure for 

AIDS or a way 
to reverse ozone depletion?^ 

Hie appeal is you can do so much for 
so little," says Stan Woosley, an astron- 
omy professor at the University of Cali- 
fornia, Santa Cruz, who spearheaded 
the fund-raising drive. "We're doing 
this because they're our family, part of 
the community of astronomers and as- 

The AAAS also plans to send sci- 
ence journals to key FSU libraries. And 
the National Institutes of Health, the 
National Science Foundation, and the 
National Academy of Sciences are spon- 
soring cooperative scientific programs 
to "take advantage of access to peo- 
ple, places, and" things that were un- 
thinkable a few short years ago," says 
Gerson S. Sher, program coordinator 
for Eastern Europe at The National Sci- 
ence Foundation. 

In addition, the United States, the Eu- 
ropean Community, Japan, and Russia 
have pledged $71 million to establish 
the International Scence and Technol- 
ogy Center in Moscow, which will fund 
civilian projects for former weapons sci- 
entists. This serves as part of a larger 

effort in pafegi lard the ^7,000 warheads 
in the Soviet arsenal and to ensure 
that Russian bomb experts won't be 
tempted to freelance for Muammar 
Qadhafi or other such leaders. But 
some critics brand this program a type 
of "ransom," an instance of govern- 
ments being held hostage to the de- 
mands of FSU nuclear physicists. 
"Who's taking care of the people who 
said, 'No, I won't work for the Soviet Mil- 
itary Industrial Complex,"' says Harley 
Balzer. "They deserve at least as 
much moral support." 

The R&D Foundation, which won Con- 
gressional approval, would do just 
that; finance joint research projects and 
private ventures through a $25 million 
spendii ig authorization. 

But perhaps the most promising col- 
laborations are synergistic combina- 
tions of American and Soviet strengths — 
which also offer unprecedented access 
to original technology al bargain-base- 
ment prices. Several proposed joint mis- 
sions between NASA and Moscow's 
Space Research Institute (IKI), for ex- 
ample — the nerve center of the Soviet 
space program — are opening up new 
frontiers in space exploration. 

Unhampered by the seemingly inter- 
minable delays that plague our space 
program, (ho Soviets catapult satellites 
into space with a metronomic consis- 
tency that amazes their American coun- 
terparts. The United Slates and other 
Western nations, on the other hand, ex- 
cel in making the precisely calibrated 
hardware to gather data on astronomy 
and planetary science that can also with- 
stand the rigors of space flight. 

Planned missions like the Spectrum 
series, which use Russian spacecraft, 
with American instruments — scheduled 
for liftoff starting in 1995 — are a "mar- 
riage of what each one does the best," 
says Alan N, Bunner, chief of NASA's 
High Energy Astrophysics branch in 
Washington, DC. "The Russians got 
state-of-the-art instrumentation on their 
satellites, and we get a free ride into 
space — saving American taxpayers mil- 
lions of dollars." 

Another example: Sun Microsystems' 
deal with f)r. Boris Habaian and 83 mem- 
bers of his research team from the Rus- 
sian Academy of Sciences' Institute for 
Precision Mechanics and Computer 
technology. B-ibaiarrs latest bra.nehild. 
the Elbrus III, relies on primitive Russian 
semiconductor chips with a factor of 
1,000 times fewer transistors than the 
best chips in the West. But it reported- 
ly performs at three times the speed of 
the West's fastest supercomputers from 
companies like Cray, overcoming the 
hardware handicap through software. 

This engineering feat is like jerry- 

rigging a cumbersome station wagon to 
rocket at triple the speeds of an Indy 
500 race car. Programming the Rus- 
sians' novel software designs onto Amer- 
ican hardware, with our ultrafast integrat- 
ed circuitry, conceivably could create 
a new generation of work stations that 
operate at unimaginable speeds. 

"Dr. Babaian has a very clever com- 
puter architecture and a spectacularly 
smart research team," says David R. 
Ditzel, director of advanced systems for 
Sun Microsystems Laboratories. "They 
knew they had good ideas. But stymied 
by the lag in hardware technology, 
they could never really prove they had 
been doing an excellent job." Now 
they'll get their chance to show the 
world just what they can do. 

Chemist Victor Kartsev, for another, 
ultimately may not be remembered as 
one of the youngest winners of the pres- 
tigious Lenin Komsomol Prize — he was 
33 — for his work on anticancer drugs, 
but as the man who midwifed the birth 
of the Russian pharmaceutical industry. 
The energetic 42-year-old Russian sci- 
entist, who resides in a suburb ot 
Moscow helped found SYNTEST, a re- 
search cooperative that later opened 
up offices in Princeton, New Jersey. The 
cooperative serves as a clearinghouse 
for more than 300 FSU laboratories, 
where 6,000 chemists experiment with 
biologically active compounds. 

As with computer scientists, so with 
chemists. The isolation of these scien- 
tists led them to explore dilferent ave- 
nues of research in practically all are- 
as of pharmacology and agriculture. As 
a result, they devised exotic agents un- 
known to the West. The sudden access 
to these compounds is akin to the- ex- 
perience of American scientists who 
trekked through the South American jun- 
gles in the 1940s and returned with an 
entirely hew pharmacopoeia of drugs. 

One of these unique formulas may 
contain the cure for AIDS, heart dis- 
ease, cancer, Alzheimer's disease, or 
any number of other fatal ailments. 
Kartsev has become a b [continental 
commuter of sorts between his Moscow 
lab and his business offices in Prince- 
ton, New Jersey. The company i.s now 
negotiating licensing agreements for 
40,000 compounds with giant pharma- 
ceutical makers, such as Merck, Bristol- 
Myers Squibb, Hoffman-LaRouche, 
Wyeth-Ayerst, Sandoz, Lederle, and 
Ciba-Geigy. (Drug development is a 
notoriously hil-or-miss proposition that 
normally requires roughly 10,000 com- 
pounds to produce a winner.) "All on a 
financial basis, of course,'' says the court- 
ly Dr. Kartsev, with a slight accent. Of 
course. The Russkios a'e learning fast. 

Numerous other agencies and firms 

56 OMNI 

are scrambling to lock up top-flight Rus- 
sian research teams, almost like major- 
league scouts elbowing each other at 
rural high schools for a chance to sign 
the next Bo Jackson or Larry Bird. 
Among them; the Department of Ener- 
gy, General Atomics, Corning, and 
Bell Labs, and the research arm of Amer- 
ican Telephone and Telegraph. 

The Department of Energy has pur- 
chased high-precision magnets from 
the Institute for Nuclear Physics in No- 
vosibirsk, Russia, for use in the Stan- 
ford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC) 
and in the Superconducting Super Col- 
lider Laboratory (SSCL). General Atom- 
ics, a U.S. company that researches nu- 
clear fusion (generating electricity 
irom nuclear reactions), recently 
signed a $90,000 contract with physi- 
cists at Moscow's Kurchaiov Institute of 
Atomic Energy to conduct tests on 
their T-10 Tokamak reactor. 

firff they are 
forced to do science in 
another environ- 
ment, it will not be the same. 
It would be 
as if the Bolshoi Ballet or 
were suddenly to disappear.? 

In May of 1992, Bell Labs contract- 
ed the services of 100 scientists at the 
General Physics Institute of the Russian 
Academy ot Sciences, headed by No- 
bel Laureate A. M. Prokhorov. The In- 
stitute serves as the world leader in re- 
search in optical fibers, the hair-thin 
glass slrands used to transmit phone 
calls and computer data via pulses of 
user light. Coincidentally, on the same 
day, Corning signed agreements with 
100 researchers at two state-run insti- 
tutes in St. Petersburg. Russia, to con- 
duct a series of glass-research projects. 

Despite all these encouraging devel- 
opments, though, they represent a 
mere Band-Aid on a situation that threat- 
ens to hemorrhage out of control. For- 
midable obstacles remain — -not the 
least of which is the lingering legacy of 
70 years of socialism and its stifling, in- 
efficient system based on patronage, 
not merit. "Institutes were run as 
fiefdoms," says Irving Lerch. "The re- 
sult: Unproductive areas were promot- 
ed, political hacks were in responsible 
positions, and corruption was rife 

throughout the bureaucracy." 

American scientists can bypass bu- 
reaucratic channels and fund the truly 
productive scientists, rather than the 
dead wood- - those accustomed to sim- 
ply collecting a paycheck — which 
some say comprises 60 to 70 percent 
ot the work force. But they have no way 
ol identifying and lending support to the 
most promising of the new crop. And 
the erosion of the traditions! prastio.-e of 
science, coupled with the newfound Iree- 
dom to move into better-paying fields, 
will make it tough to keep good scien- 
tists in the pipeline. 

Even the logistics of providing ass st- 
ance can be daunting. With the bank- 
ing system in disarray, it's difficult to 
transfer funds to needy FSU research- 
ers short of simply handing them a suit- 
case full of money, as some companies 
are rumored to have done. 

There are no quick fixes for these en- 
demic problems, and clearly the behe- 
moth Russian science structure must be 
downsized. But offering FSU scientists 
moral support and some alternatives to 
em oration are key steps "oward :n;egral- 
ing them into ;he global scientific com- 
munity. And the majority have chosen 
to weather out these cataclysm : c chang- 
es and use their talents to rebuild their 
nation. "The most intelligent people 
have stayed," Moscow-based software 
designer Yuri S. Rumyantsev tells me 
after the Sun Microsystems press con- 
ference. "We love our work, and we 
have very long connections with each: 
other. It's hard lo leave those human re- 
lations. Besides." ho ados, his face hard- 
ening almost imperceptibly, "science 
can make the world belter." DO 


A photo credit was omitted from the Feb- 
ruary/March 1993 issue: Page 22: Ber- 
nard Bisson/Sygma. April issue, page 
2, top: Sandra Hendlen: page 2, bot- 
tom left: Peier Liepke; page 2, middle: 
General Motors; page 2, bottom right: 
Greg Vaughn; page 4: Peter Liepke; 
page 10: Chrisiopher Springman; 
page 12, top; Photo Researchers; 
page 12, bottom: Andrea Pistolesi/The 
Image Bank; page 14: Bruce Roberts/ 
Photo Researchers; page 18: Photo Re- 
searchers; page 20: Hughes; page 27: 
P. Durand/Sygma; page 28, top: 
Bruno P. Zehnder/Peter Arnold; page 
28, bottom: Focus on Sports; page 29, 
left: George Sumner Studios, Inc.; 
page 29, right: Niki Mareschall/The Im- 
age Bank; page 30, top: Joe Azzara/ 

The Image I o . 1 1 1 1 ■ i ■■: ■ '■ ■ n: . 

onika Teuber; page 31 : Jake Rajs/The 
Image Bank; page 52: Art & Editorial Re- 
sources; page 79: George Sumner Stu- 
dios, Inc.; page 80, top: Veronika Teu- 
ber; page 80, bottom: Movie Still Ar- 
chives; page 81, fop; The Betlmann 
Archive; page 81 , bottom: Jeff Berner. 

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God, to have style 
and money in those days, to take my place up there on the 
stage with hot Stud Ridley, the magnetic emcee with the ne- 
on eyes, my love. Bliss to be in the studio — but to be a con- 
testant! Who wouldn't kill for the thrill? Imagine starring in 
the global sensation, the absolutely only TV show that 
keeps dogs away from their dinners, kids home from the 
malls, and lovers out of each other's arms, everybody too 
mesmerized to turn it off, and, yesi — all eyes on me in my 
most death-dealing costume; now that is power. 

Imagine being the all-time winner in the grand playoffs at 
the end of the season, taking the trophy in front of the big- 
gest TV audience in the history of competition. Feel the 
-drumroll. hear the shouts as Stud Ridley— Stud Ridley 
crowns you all-time universal winner on like my dress. 

Listen. I almost made it. And if the show went down in 
flames right afterward, so be it. Fine. 

With a loss like that, the skies should weep. 

There was another winner that season, but there was nev- 
er another season. All the heart and fire had gone out. Am 
! sorry? There's a hole in my heart that pills won't reach. 
Glad? Okay. Yes. 

But if you want to blame somebody, blame Lola. Lola Gar- 
ner did it, my putative best friend. Lola, that I trusted; we 
used to wear each other's clothes! It was Lola with the baby- 
blue sweetie-pie stare and her raunchy little ass and all her 
treachery that brought me down, And I thought she was my 

If you want to know the truth, I got into it because of her; 



I flew so high — before I fell. But I am 

getting ahead of myself. 

We worked in the same office, and 
I ran into her in Labels for Less one day 
at lunch. She was trying on an orange 
sequined catsuit that made her ass 
look like a pumpkin, going away. She 
was preening in front of the three-way 
mirror as if it didn't even show the 
back of her, and I had to intervene. 

"Hi, you may not know me; my 
name is Gaby, from the office?" 

Well, the smile she gave me was flat- 
tering, to say the least. "Everybody 
knows who you are. You're that terribly 
chic girl." 

"Oh, do you really think so?" 

"This is such an honor. Everybody 
wants to look like you." She twirled in 
the jumpsuit. "What do you think?" 

I did it without even hurting her feel- 
ings. "I've seen you in better colors." 

"Oh, thank you." She took my word 
for it. 

By the time we left, I had talked her 
into a mauve number that was very slen- 
derizing and looked good with my 
gray suede boots, and she thought I 
was God. We were bonded from then on. 

Or she let me think we were. To 
think I trusted her! But that was before 
we even dreamed of like my dress. 

Now let me explain a few things to 
you about costume, so you can see 
what made that show take off and fly. 
Now I'm not just talking about us wom- 
en in the work force, this holds for ev- 
ery guy I know; just look at the ads for 
man makeup and the eye tucks for men 
and the hair plugs and the fluorescent 
shirts, the ass-hugging trousers and nat- 
ty ties and the two-toned shoes — you 
think that's for fun? It's for survival. 
When all about you are losing theirs, at 
least you know you look good. Shop- 
ping is nature's way of telling you you're 
not dead. 

Plus, the pressure is intense. Look at 
any magazine and you can see it. 
Look at TV. This world we live in could 
care less about what's going on inside 
a person; it's the wrappings that 
count. So everybody goes to work, we 
all do our jobs, and no matter how 
good we are at what we're doing, the 
world is judging us according to some- 
thing else. 

And you wonder why the whole 
world fell for like my DRESS? 

Maybe you're too young to remem- 
ber the show in its heyday, the bro- 
cades and sequined jobs designed to 
stun, the ermine trim that could take out 
entire battalions, jewels that killed in- 

And the great thing was, you didn't 
have to be rich. On the best nights, the 
judges overlooked your elaborate hand- 

60 OMNI 

sewn one-of-a kind evening gowns and 
your rich people's Issy Miyakes and 
Christian LaCroixes to give first prize to 
the Army Surplus coverall with the 
gold belt or the simple sack dress, 
while a studio audience that numbered 
in the thousands rose as one person 
and cheered. It was about how you put 
things together, whether you had an 

In the world of like my dress, money 
wasn't everything; sometimes money 
wasn't anything. Style was. That im- 
ponderable: chic, You either have it or 
you don't. Which is what provided the 
suspense. There would be Ms. Key- 
punch Operator of Dallas, facing off 
with one of the crowned heads and 
some big star who'd dropped a bundle 
on Rodeo Drive. At the end of the eve- 
ning she would parade, as good as any- 
body, and the applause meter would do 
the rest. She could win! The judges and 

6ln the 


money wasn't 

everything; sometimes 

money wasn't 

anything. Style was. 

You either 
have it or you don't.? 

the audience went for a certain totality 
of /oo/cthat surpasseth understanding. 
How else could you account for the ex- 
citement, the surprise, the harmony of 
tension that made an international cult 
around a television show? I mean, the 
Golden Calf had nothing on like my 
dress. Those were the days. If you 
were old enough to shop, you could not 
help but hope. 

And now I'm going to tell you some- 
thing interesting, and if it splits the dif- 
ference between men and women, 
fine, In the first thirteen weeks, there 
were also men contestants, but the pro- 
ducers dropped" them for two reasons. 

One, men's clothes are not nearly as 
good, so except for the one transves- 
tite, in thirteen weeks there was not one 
male winner. 

And, two, the bottom line. It was that 
when push came to shove with those 
guys, they were born losers. They. Did. 
Not. Know how to accessorize. Men 
don't know squat about style. They 
think they're competitive, but when the 
going gets tough, they just can't han- 

dle it. Give me a woman every time. 

What had Lola said the first time we 
met? "You're that terribly chic girl." My 
heart rose up. 

If only I could bring back that first 
night. We were on our way out to a Sin- 
gles Fondue Party when Lola flipped on 
my set and Stud Ridley came up on the 
screen and I fell in love. He just saun- 
tered into a pool of light, whistling the 
theme ... the most hypnotically sexy 
man in the world, with the wavy hair and 
the sweet, sweet grin that made amaz- 
ing promises. I died. Is it enough to say 
that since that night I've never wanted 
another man? 

And this is what hummed along un- 
der the theme music, and radiated in 
his smile: If you won, Stud Ridley was 
part of the prize. Magnetic, gorgeous. 
Mine. Who wouldn't fall in love with him? 
Who wouldn't tune in week after week 
after week? Lola and I could barely 
tear ourselves away. There were wom- 
en just like us wearing these beautiful 
clothes in front of all those people with 
the music playing; there was Stud Rid- 
ley with the neon eyes; there was the 
applause! The applause .... 

The show was broadcast live from 
Los Angeles and relayed by Telstar, so 
that in certain foreign capitals, even 
though it would be repeated later, peo- 
ple struggled out of bed at 3 a.m. just 
so they could see it live. Broadway pro- 
ducers buckled to the pressure and pro- 
vided hour-long intermissions between 
acts of their new hits, with sets provid- 
ed in the lobbies and the restrooms. At 
the opera, everybody went to the spe- 
cial second-act TV lounge. In factories, 
management found the hour LIKE MY 
dress break increased productivity. Is 
it any wonder Lola and I refused dates 
and shuffled exercise classes to be 
home Wednesday nights? 

Friends like to be with friends in 
times like that. Lola and I were close in 
those days. We used to do each oth- 
er's hair! 

We shopped together on lunch 
hours, and on Wednesday nights we 
went over to each other's houses for the 
show. At 6 we would sit down with our 
notebooks and tomato soup and Brown- 
ies on TV trays, trying on clothes until 
showtime. We made sketches of the win- 
ners, so we could sew copies for our- 
selves. I did the machine work and 
Lola put in the hems — the innocence! 
The joy! Would it be better to be forev- 
er the winner, or to be forever young? 

I'll tell you what Is worse. Not being 

Ah, but at the time, I thought I was 
going to have it all. 

All right, all right, it was Lola's idea 
for one of us to go on the show. But I 

was the bankroll. Didn't that give me 

It was the second Wednesday in ihe 
first season; we were going to a party, 
but only after the end credits rolled on 

1.1Kb MY DRESS. 

I saw Stud Ridley walking off 
through the circles ol light and I want- 
ed to melt into the TV and go after him. 

This frumpy rock star won; her hair 
was a mess and the idea of her out on 
the town in the lirno with my beautiful 
Stud was killing me. And then just like 
that, Lola turned to me and said inno- 
cently, "Listen, we could do better 
than that. You could." 

"Right. Me and Lady Di." 

She looked so sincere: "Listen, Ga- 
by, you have style. You look better 
than that winner in what you have on 
right now." 

It was my new black outfit, with the 
neat boots. I'll admit I blushed, but it 
made me walk a little taller. "Maybe 
you're right." 

"By the way, can I borrow your liz- 
ard sandals?" 

Longing like fire smoldered in my 
joints and went flickering along my 
bones. I even loaned her the matching 
shoulder bag. And when we. went out 
that night, we took large steps. 

Lola led me along, "So, listen. We 

look as good as they do. We could 

Do you wonder why the show was 
such a hit? 

Lola and I spent the whole night talk- 
ing about weight training and jazzer- 
cize, just in case. When push comes to 
shove, a person has to look good in 
something tight. Not our fault that we 
got so far into it that our guys felt left 
out. We didn't say it right out, but even 
then Lola knew where this was head- 
ing, and I knew. 

Still we didn't watch every week, or 
we tried not to. At least not that season. 
We still had lives. But in the second sea- 
son we were pulled in tight. Lola was 
over at my house; we had two really 
sweet computer programmers from Mo- 
bil coming over — she was trying to 
bring in MTV so we would have dance 
music, but she got the season premiere 
and there he was back in my living 
room; Stud. Oh yes, I was in love. 

Plus, there was a new feature. Listen. 
They showed movies of contestants in 
training. Including everyday people, 
just like us. like my DRESS sent a cam- 
era crew to follow you around for two 
weeks betore the show. We saw this 
sweet woman getting breakfast for her 
family, knitting her own dressy tank 
tops, going out to shop .... Then we 

saw this rich lady exec; she had 
staked her corporation and her reputa- 
tion on winning, so most of the pictures 
were of this woman shopping, shop- 
ping; she was so rich, the stores sent 
models over to her office! Then they 
showed us Ihe girl from design school— 
at class, in ihe dorms gluing bottle 
caps to the hem of her velvet evening 
dress so it would shine and clatter 
when she turned. Who wouldn't love 
her? Who wouldn't envy them?! 

And one of those women was going 
to be the first winner of the year. She 
would get the crown, the night with 
Stud Ridley. She would gel the week in 
Acapulco; ihe ovon'ngs in London, Par- 
is, Rome; the lifetime purchase card 
backed up by American Express and 
honored in every major store around the 
world. As it turned out, the lady exec 
won it that night, but it could have 
been one of the common people. 

It could have been us. 

Lola looked at me. "TV," she said. 
Her lips were wet. "We could, be on TV." 

"On our bankroll?" 

"If we pool our talents." Her eyelash- 
es were like flocked velvet. She was 
wearing my little red thing. "With our 

I said, "We could," but even then a 
little bell was sounding somewhere in- 
side. I would find out too late what it 
was jingling about: One of us could. 

When ihe guys rang we were too hyp- 
notized to buzz them in. That was the 
season my ficus died of neglect. It was 
the season Lola and I moonlighted at 
a Bagel Nosh to help support our ward- 
robes, working every night of the week 
except during the show. It was the 
year we bought ihe Polaroid to take pic- 
tures for the nationwide talent search 
and the camcorder to shoot videos of 
us in our pretty clolhes, and the year 
we gave up men because there wasn't 
time for that and weight training too. 
When we won, there would be plenty 
of new men and they would all be rich, 
and handsome, and eleganlly dressed. 

And I would have Siud. 

If I could just win, I knew I could 
make him mine for good. And Lola — 
when I confided, she was so generous. 
The bitch. "You want him? You should 
have him. All I care about is the glory." 
She was so cool; she made me think 
she didn't even care which one of us 
went first. 

That year we senl three dozen sets 
of snapshots and videos and all we had 
were rejection slips. By that time, the 
cheerleader from Temple Texas had 
been declared the winner for October 
and Lloyd's of London was covering wa- 
gers that put Lady Di out in front in the 
end-of-the-year finals, although Sheik 

Ahmed Fouad's entire harem was con- 
sidered the dark horse because iheir en- 
semble breakfasl costumes stopped 
the show. 

Lola said, "Maybe next week." 
■ We had just gotten rejected again. I 
was so depressed, I groaned, "Maybe 

Was she looking at me sideways? Stu- 
pid, 1 never saw. Her eyes got all slit- 
ted — strange. "Maybe if we spent 
more on photographs . . . ." 

"Maybe if we had a million bucks." 

"I'm not kidding, Gaby." God, the 
woman was quick. She slipped it in 
like a needle full of Novocaine. "If only 
we could afford to get Venuto to take 
our photographs." 

Now that sounded innocent. Of 
course it turned out we could only af- 
ford one set of photographs, so on the 
way to Venule's studio we had this heart- 
to-heart, and Lola said, "Which one of 
us gets photographed first?" 

"I don't know," I said. 

"It doesn't matter who goes first," she 
said, "Whoever wins, we'll use the mon- 
ey to get the other one on the show." 
Then, boy, you should have heard her, 
that voice clear and empty as a glass 
of water, Lola beginning the lie of all 
lies: "Tell you what, why don't we let him 

It sounded fine to me. Oh sure, I 
thought I going to win, and why? 
Because all these months Lola had 
been telling me so. 

So we went to his studio, I have 
spent two decades on the couch trying 
to get over this one 

This Venuto was an. artist, right? 
Well he decided Lola's cheekbones 
(which 1 happen to know she'd sucked 
in her cheeks to get the effect) made 
her the one. Plus she had stuffed her- 
self into my besf white thing so she 
looked better than me. The bitch. 

Those photos got her the show. 
Okay, I tried to be glad for her. 

"Oh don't worry," she said, "when the 
dress crew comes to make the audition 
video, you can be on the video, too. 
Stud can choose " 


All our money for the one set of pho- 
tographs. But it got her the show. Mot 
three weeks laten my best friend was 
coiled on my chaise like Cleopatra wait- 
ing for the asp, all dolled up in honor 
of the dress audition video crew. We 
were going to be on the show. 

I mean, she was. I tried to be glad. 
I even promised to sew her a new 
dress. Gaby, the brave little tailor. Ga- 
by, the tool. 

I tried to be giad for her. She didn't 

~ake it easy. Once I had fallen into the 
sidekick rote, she started using me like 
toilet paper, you know? If I said maybe 
it wasn't fair, her going first, Lola 
would string me along with promises': 
"Oh, Gaby, just think of the two weeks 
in Acapulco, think of the perpetual 
charge account, think of the shopping 
we could do." 

Lola, with her everlasting WE, when 
what she meant was I. 

But I ended up letting her take the' 
pick of my closet, and after we pooled 
our savings for her wardrobe, I carried 
all the damn packages. I even allered 
her rotten evening clothes. 

Well I showed her. 

It was kind of an accident. I mean, 
she was trying on costumes at my 
place (which I had kindly agreed she 
could use for the audition shoot be- 
cause her dump was not presentable 
and mine was, even with the sewing 
mess and the ficus dead) and she was 
still going: "Prizewinner's date with 
Prince Albert" this, and "Year-end cham- 
pionship date with Prince Edward" 
that, worse and worse, and then, "Imag- 
ine, Stud Ridley," the other thing. 

I just couldn't help it; 1 said, "Listen, 
Lola; friends are friends and you can go 
first on the show and no hard feelings, 
but there is this one very important 

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She was so busy looking in the 
hand mirror that she hardly heard. 
"Sure, Gabes, anything." 

Can I help it if everything in me 
boiled up and popped? "Keep your 
damn hands off of Stud Ridley. He's 

Then she said as cool as cool, so off- 
hand that I wanted to murder her, "Oh, 
him; I wouldn't touch him with a stick." 

After which my best friend did this aw- 
ful thing to me. The words just fell out, 
like garbage on the rug. "I bought some- 
thing for you." 

I was doing up her hem. I tried to 
smile. "Oh Lola, how nice." To think I 
was ashamed for what I was feeling 
right then. 

She was all pink and big-hearted and 
smiling. "Here it is." 

You can imagine my emotions as I 
opened the box — the fnud when I saw 
what it was! "A maid's uniform!" 

"Don't you like it? Now you can be 
with me on the show." 

"In this?' 

"Better that than nothing." She was 
wearing my best rhinestone clips on her 

"Don't do me any favors, Lola. After 
you win the everlasting charge account, 
1 will get on the show in my own right. 

After all,"— dumb thing to say, bad tim- 
ing — "I am the one with chic." 

She choked. 

"Why are you looking at me like 

She was trying to swallow the 
words; she knew they were garbage. I 
yelled at her to speak up. She couldn't 
help herself. She said, "You'll never 
make it, you're too fat. Your clothes all 
look better on me." 

"Fat!" So much for her flattery. All 
lies. All these years and the bitch had 
been using me so she could wear my 

I lunged for her throat, but she 
stopped me in midflight, squeaking, "Ga- 
by, the doorbell. The camera crew! Ga- 
by, my hair!" 
, "In hell." 

So much for Lola. I bopped her and 
locked her in the closet. Right, my mis- 
take. 1 should have murdered her. Lit- 
tle did I know. 

The first thing was I couldn't get at 
my best shoes. Instead I had to wear 
her rotten narrow dress-up pumps, but 
when the crew came, they didn't seem 
to notice that I limped. She ruined my 
aqua sweater the last time she wore it, 
so what it I did stretch her rotten 
shoes? After the crew knocked off for 
the day, I went to the closet and revived 

Lola, but before I did. I took precau- 
tions. I got out my toenail scissors and 
"cut off all her hair. 

I will not describe the scene that en- 
sued when she saw herself in the mir- 
ror, but I will say this for Lola: She is a 
practical girl. I reasoned with her. 
Since she couldn't do the show with no 
hair, it was only right for me to do it — 
after all, I had put up half the jack. Be- 
sides, they already had me on the vid- 
eo. Plus, after I promised to split the 
prize money and the everlasting 
charge account — in fact, everything ex- 
cept the night with Stud Ridley, which 
I swapped her for the date with Prince 
Edward — she agreed to go along. By 
the time she had access to the winner's 
credit cards, which I signed in blood 
that I would share, her hair would be 
back. After I promised to throw in a 
free sitting with Venuto, she was posi- 
tively philosophical. Her time would 
come. She would get her chance to be 
on the show. 

What I would never forgive her for 
was the garbage she had spewed on 
the rug between us, that would not go 
away. All these years the two-faced 
bitch had been wearing my clothes 
when she secretly thought I was fat. 

In the next weeks I was so happy I 
forgot. There was no way I was going 

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lELEPHOMf ^( ) 

to take Lola along to Hollywood as my 
maid or my secretary or any other 
thing. Not now that 1 knew she was a 
liar and a sneak. She wasn't about to 
be seen in public anyway, because of 
the hair. In fact, she took a leave of ab- 
sence from- work to grow her hair 
back, so she was out of my hair. Sorry. 
Instead of her being the queen, I was 
going to be the queen. 

Los Angeles! 

You should have seen it. You should 
have seen me, going around in the stu- 
dio car. Unfortunately, even the last pi- 
rate tapes have been destroyed. No- 
body wants to remember because no- 
body cares. Sic transit. You know. 

They got me there a whole week ear- 
ly, which I spent in hair salons and nail 
parlors and makeup clinics which the 
lunny-looking short woman with the clip- 
board sent me to twice— I suppose be- 
cause even though Lola and I bear a 
passing likeness, she couldn't make the 
Venuto photo match my face. But I was 
in heaven, stashed in the Beverly 
Wilshire. I didn't mind. 

Before the show, we waited in the 
Green Room, me and the Japanese man- 
ufacturer's wife, who had taken anabol- 
ic steroids to make herself tall enough 
by American standards of beauty, 
along with the ex-wife of the chairman 

of the board at Lord and Taylor, who 
had divorced her husband so she 
could compete in spite of the conflict-of- 
interests clause. Nobody wanted us to 
rumple our opening-round costumes, 
so we were leaning against tilted iron- 
ing boards. As we were in competition, 
it seemed best for us not to talk, in- 
stead. I eyed them, and they eyed me. 

I know I looked fine. Even before 
Stud Ridley kissed me — kissed me in 
the winner's circle and gave me the 
crown for that night, I knew I looked 
fine. And that kiss. I have lived a life- 
time on that kiss. You can have your 
Prince Edward and your Prince Albert 
of Monaco. Listen, Stud Ridley kissed 
me. Once, 

I was leaning against my tilted iron- 
ing board with my simple cashmere 
spread out around me and the amaz- 
ing find I'd made on Rodeo Drive care- 
fully draped, touching my deceptively 
simple jewels. Then the music came up 
and I thought I would asphyxiate as the 
manufacturer's wife tottered out on her 
platform sandals into the light and the 
show began. The light! The applause 
was only a prelude to mine. I could tell 
you a thing or two about applause. 

I can't tell you much about the rest 
because all 1 remember are the lights 
and the applause — the applause! The 

clapping whisper oi the billions out 
there watching, via satellite relay. 

What can I say about Stud Ridley in 
person, . the eyes, that seductive 
touch? And the betrayal. Terrible. 

How can I describe what he and 
Lola did to me? In the first round they 
show your clips — hard to watch be- 
cause it brought it all back; the ugly 
scene with Lola, the closet, how I cut 
off all her hair. I couldn't nurse the guilt 
because I had to look happy for the sec- 
ond round, where the contestants rev- 
erence the all-time winners while 
dressed for afternoon. The hall-of- 
famers make little speeches about how 
hard it was for them, how great we 
look; I remember thinking, Everyoneof 
these women has been with my Stud. 

Then I looked into his very special 
eyes and jealousy disappeared. I tri- 
umphed in the third round. I had de- 
signed and made the evening dress. I'd 
only had to let it out in a couple of little 
places to make it fit me as well as it fit- 
ted Lola. 

After the commercials, we were 
called back to tell the studio audience, 
in our own words, where we got our 

I was halting. I was eloquent. I was 
wonderful. I was so good, I won. I 
could hear a little murmur that began 
way back in the enormous studio, gath- 
ered force and broke like surf over me, 
wave after wave of applause. Stud Rid- 
ley put the crown on me— I could feel 
his fingers trailing promises across my 
bare back — and then I got what I had 
always wanted — I got to show off in my 
party dress in front of everybody; I head- 
ed onto the Mylar runway to the music 
and the applause. Behind me was my 
picture on this giant monitor above the 
stage. It was wonderful. I will never for- 
get the feeling as I started out ... I nev- 
er should have turned my back on that 

But I am forgetting Lola. No. I had for- 
gotten about Lola then, the bitch. 
What she might beup to that night. I 
don't know how she managed it; I don't 
know what she promised Stud Ridley or 
what they did to make it work. 

All I do know is that at the beginning 
of the prizewinner's promenade, just as 
I was heading down the runway and out 
over the heads of the audience, the run- 
way lights went out. Like that. I was 
there but nobody saw. 

Never mind, I thought, trying to 
make the best of it. They can see me 
on the monitor. 

So I was on the runway, looking, I 
thought, double gorgeous in Lola's 
dress, and if only the people sitting near- 
est could see, no matter, because I was 
backed up by the giant monitor, I 

thought, Gaby Fayerweather in the 
prizewinning costume and thirty feet 
tall, beamed out to every TV screen all 
over the civilized world. 

It was what I had been working for 
all these years. It was better than any- 
thing; it was better than sex; it was like 
being queen of the world. 
And something was wrong. 
I was lost in the wild blue waiting for 
applause. First there was nothing. 
Then this awful sound started some- 
where down deep and ripped through 
the air; it was — it was this hideous rat- 
tle, a whip of scorn, followed by a gut- 
tural, angry rumble, followed by some- 
thing I had never heard before, so final 
and terrible that I gave up the prome- 
nade and for the first time I looked at 
the giant television screen .... 
It was horrible. 
It was me and it wasn't me. 
There I was, thirty feet tall in front of 
thousands and being beamed to the en- 
tire civilized world, and what did they 

My golden dress was gone and the 
crown was gone and the cape was 
gone; the me that was up there on the 
screen was not me in my moment of tri- 
umph, being broadcast live. 

It was me on tape. There I was, smil- 
ing for Lola's camcorder on a sunny af- 
ternoon back home. I tried yelling, 
Look everybody, I'm still here, and I'm 
still all dressed up, REALLY, but no- 
body heard; they were all looking up 
there at the me on the screen. And 
they hated what they saw. 

The bitch. Who did she sleep with to 
make this happen, who did she have 
to bribe? 

Up there on the screen: Gaby Fay- 
erweather in her shame, with a pink 
string of words trailing across the 
screen underneath: like her dress? 

Then Stud Ridley, Stud Ridley said 
into the microphone: "Okay, people, 
like her dress?" 

It came from a hundred thousand 
throats in the studio and out there all 
over the globe; it was enormous: 
"No 00000 oooooo . . . ," 
I died. 

Then it disappeared, transmission in- 
terrupted temporarily, the screen 
said, do not adjust your set It was all 
over for me. 

Then transmission resumed. There 
was a winner on the stage and on the 
giant screen, but it wasn't me. Stud had 
put Lola in my place. Lola — in a wig, I 
suppose, since there wasn't time for her 
to grow her hair back after what I did 
to her; Lola was up there in a copy of 
my evening gown— I looked from her to 
Stud Ridley and back again and all I 
could see was treachery. That dupli- 

citous, heartbreaking, lying bastard 
Stud Ridley wrapped his arm around 
her waist and said, "Look everybody, 
this is the real queen," and then my 
God he said, "After the finals we're go- 
ing to be married; let's all greet Lola Gar- 
ner, my winner and my fiancee." You 
know, it didn't matter how I waved my 
arms there in the dark at the end of the 
runway in the dark, Gaby Fayerweath- 
er in the prizewinning golden dress, 
poor Gaby shouting, I'm still heeere; no- 
body saw. 

Instead they all looked at Lola and 

And me? They threw me out. Just as 
my best friend accepted the prizewin- 
ning kiss from Stud Ridley, studio 
guards on orders from that same Stud 
Ridley lifted me like a log and carried 
me off. 

If that had been all, I might have han- 
dled it, but I am ruined for life. No mat- 
ter how I disguise myself, people know 
me for a failure; they follow me in the 
street like dogs, laughing and pointing 
at poor Gaby the pretender, Gaby Fay- 
erweather, who thought she was so 

See, in addition to cnoaung me of my 
triumph, Lola and Stud Ridley ruined my 
life. What they did was, they exposed 
me to the final unspeakable horror, the 
hell from which nobody returns and 
which nobody survives, which is ■ why I 
firebombed the studio the following 
Wednesday, causing Stud Ridley exten- 
sive plastic surgery that took him off the 
air and effectively eviscerated the 

What it was, was, that video that start- 
ed them howling at me? It didn't look 
half bad. I mean, in that particular vid- 
eo, I had on my best purple thing, with 
my rhinestone earrings and my hair 
done special, with the pretty little 
poufs over the ears? I even had on my 
favorite orange shoes. That wasn't one 
of your embarrassing home videos, it 
was the real me, okay? And the rotten 
hateful final insult, that sent me over the 
edge in a barrel? 
They hated me anyway. 
So if I am not much to look at these 
days, if my teeth are long gone and my 
hair is going, if my figure went first, a 
casualty to despair, if dogs bark at me 
in the street and children cover their 
eyes and run, there is a reason. Failure 
makes you ugly, and this was the 

I went on like my dress, all right? I 
had to lie and cheat to do it; I locked 
my best friend in the closet and I cut 
off all her hair and took her place; I 
went on like my dress and it was the 
end of everything. 
They didn't like my dress. DO 

So report the nation 
Drs. Lee and Joyce SI 


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"I ft je've done it; we've won. You say it's man against nature? Baloney! Man has killed nature. Now, do you sweep 
U Wthe battlefield ciean, or do you try to save some of the pieces? That's' the rational part of humans I hope will 
kick in." So declares Daniel Janzen, Professor of Biology at the University of Pennsylvania and pioneering restoration 
ecologist. Since 1963, Janzen has campaigned tirelessly to protect and restore the dry forests of Costa Rica, a 
country roughly the size of West Virginia and home to 4 percent of Earth's terrestrial species.- 

In 1989, Janzen helped found Costa Rica's National Biodiversity Institute (INBio) for the purpose of conducting, 
sorting, and storing a complete inventory of the country's estimated 500,000 species of plants and animals. Janzen 
sees INBio's future as Costa Rica's biological company store: promoting the nondestructive use of its genetic and 




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"Wildlands eat and 

chew on each other, rot and 

grow. Management costs 

are associated with human use. 

As human use goes up, 

you charge, the human users. It 

becomes a self-financing 

elevation in activity." 


"If we can get big pieces of the 
tropics in the next ten 

to. twenty years, we'll be okay." 

bio information to corporations and institutions and plowing the various kinds of profits back into the wildland forests. 
To that end, Janzen and his wife Winnie have raised millions of dollars to endow INBio and train rural Costa Ricans 
to collect and identify plant and insect specimens from the seven conserved wildlands that cover 27 percent of the 
country. Once this ten-year inventory is complete and laws that assign ownership of its living resources to Costa 
Rica are created, biodiversity may become big business there. 

Janzen foresees the formation of a "green cartel"— an OPEC-like collection of countries, based on the INBio proc- 
ess, who sustainably use their biodiversity rather than destroy it, Before that can happen, the owners of the world's 
tropica! and subtropical forests, wherein dwell more than two-thirds of the earth's estimated 5 million species, need 


proof positive that these treasure 
troves are worth more to them alive 
than dead. Considering the demand 
for cheeseburgers and lawn furniture 
. and the crushing burden of debt un- 
der which almost all of these countries 
struggle, success remains a longshot. 
Born in 1939, Janzen grew up in the 
North Woods of Minnesota. He loved 
to hunt and trap and thought nothing 
of sawing down an occasional pine 
just to count the rings. Graduating 
from the University of Minnesota in 
1961. he earned his Ph.D. from the 
University of California-Berkeley in 
1965. Since 1962, he has authored 300 
papers on such topics as "Why Are Em- 
bryos so Tasty?," "Seeds in Tapir 
Dung in Santa Rosa National Park," and 
"Coevolution of Mutualism Between 
Ants and Acacias in Central America." 
That study of coevolution — where two 
species evolve a dependence upon 
one another for survival — in 1984 won 
Janzen the Crafoord Prize, biology's 
equivalent of the Nobel. 

I spoke with Janzen on the porch of 
his cluttered shack in Santa Rosa, a 
speck of a town in the huge Guana- 
caste Conservation Area. While we 
talked, Winnie, a former biology grad- 
uate student at Cornell, treated us to a 
guip-by-gulp description of a snake 
swallowing a large frog in the upper 
limbs of a nearby tree. From where we 
sat, under a cool, green canopy, it was 
hard to believe that the world's great 
tropical forests are disappearing at one 
acre a second. — Bill Moseley 

Omni: One night a large toad hopped into a local can- 
tina. When some kids began to pester it, their mother 
shouted, "Watch out; it will squirt milk out of its eyes!" 
Janzen: Not the eyes— a pair of glands behind the 
eyes. And it's not milk; it's a secretion containing bufagen- 
ins, compounds well known in the medical community 
that speed up heartbeat. If you get it into your blood, 
it's like taking a heavy dose of digitalis, which doctors 
normally administer in small quantities to make your 
heart do what they want it to do. Every species of toad 
produces its own slightly different chemical, but all of 
them do things to your nervous system, 
There's a big frog here, Phrynohyas venuiosa, that 




"Every time a company's R&D 

gets cranked up over 

a given drug or food item, 

they throw into the 

budgets little cream-off of one 

percent for fie forest" 


"If we. could save eighty-five to 
ninety percent of 

the world's tropical biodiversity, 
we'll have won." 


Tax-deductible contributions 

are needed to 
support the. training of Costa 

Bican curators and 
for the purchase of rain forest. 

Send, contributions to: 

The INBiO Fund, The Nature 

Conservancy, Latin 

American Program, 1815 

H, Lynn Street, 

•-■ Arlington, Virginia 22209. 

For more information, : 

• call Randy Curtis at TNC, 

(703) 841-4864. 

comes into rural houses during the dry 
season and camps in the water be- 
hind the toilet or in the shower. The 
wet surface of its skin contains a chemi- 
cal that can temporarily paralyze tear 
ducts. If you touch one and rub your 
eyes, your tear ducts stop, and it's 
like sandpaper in the eyes! So these 
frogs have a reputation of being very 
nasty to the eyes. It happened to me 
years ago. Once was enough! 
Omni: Walking through the forest, I no- 
ticed an acacia tree covered with 
ants. Was that the focus of your study 
leading to the Crafoord Prize? 
Janzen: Yes. There are about 12 spe- 
cies of that tree, all having big 
thorns, from central Mexico to Colum- 
bia. And about 14 species of ants are 
involved. Any species of that acacia 
may be occupied by any number of 
ant species, but each tree has only 
one ant colony. I once took the ants 
off the ant acacia to see what would 
happen to the tree: Everybody and his 
little brother came to eat the leaves. 
The leaves are like lettuce; there are 
no chemical defenses. The ants are 
analogous to the chemical defenses 
that most plants have, but which for 
the most part are not present in the 
ant acacia. 

In the Sixties and Seventies, chemi- 
cals in plants was a hot topic. Some 
plant physiologists felt they were 
waste products. A smaller but grow- 
ing group thought they were chemi- 
cals built specifically by the plant to 
defend itself. The ant acacia was use- 
ful because, in a sense, the ants 
were a chemical you could remove. You can't walk up 
to an ordinary tree and take away its defensive chemi- 
cals, but with a little parathion or other pesticide, you 
could take the ants off. 

Those chemicals are what give the green world its 
flavors, odors, medicines. If you were interviewing some- 
one here 2,000 years ago, a big piece of their lives 
would relate to these plant chemicals. Today, people 
here are almost entirely divorced from that. Their chem- 
icals—often the same ones— come from the drug 
store. Generally, these are more effective in combating 
disease because dosage and purity are better con- 
trolled. Still, specific diseases were often effectively treat- 

ed by soups, teas, grinding up or smok- 
ing leaves. 

Chemicals play an enormous role in 
how the vertebrate, insect, fungus, and 
bacterial world treat this big green 
wall. To us, it's green. To a beetle, it's 
the colors caffeine, morphine, nicotine, 
L-dopa. He runs around and takes a nib- 
ble out of this and that until he hits the 
plant in which he's a specialist. He has 
enzymes allowing him to gobble up the 
chemical, chop it into pieces. That's 
host specificity. Almost all of the 20,000 
or more species of insects that live 
here and eat leaves eat only one spe- 
cies of plant. That's primarily due to the 
specific chemistry in that leaf. [Janzen 
points to dozens of plastic bags hang- 
ing over our heads, each containing a 
different caterpillar and its favorite 
food.] Every species has the internal 
chemistry to degrade one or more of 
those funny chemicals. Each caterpillar 
is a walking biodegradation factory. 
Omni: Destroying the tropical forests, 
aren't we digging our collective grave? 
Stanford's Paul R. Erlich predicts human- 
kind will die out by the middle of the 
next century. Do you share that dooms- 
day prognostication? 
Janzen: I tend to share the pessimism 
of Erlich or E. O. Wilson [Harvard pro- 
fessor of zoology]. The difference be- 
tween us is that while I agree that 
things are going to hell in a handbas- 
ket, I also believe they can be repaired. 
There's a strong sense of frustration in 
the conservation community. Many con- 
servationists believe the only way fo mo- 
bilize the public is to put out a message 
so violent, so gloomy, that it will gener- 
ate a strong reaction. There are times 
that tactic works. But if you scream 
"Fire!" too many times, people stop lis- 
tening. "Overall, enough people will re- 
spond to a more positive approach. 
When we talk about ways to fix things, 
we have to get more specific, divide fhe 
world into geographic and administra- 
tive pieces: Mexico, Ethiopia, Malaysia, 
Columbia, Brazil. I have different levels 
of optimism for different areas. 

I view Costa Rica as a pilot project. 
The optimism I feel here doesn't come 
from international planning commis- 
sions, big institutions, or massive vol- 
unteer efforts. While they have a role, 
the real solution is setting up process- 
es whereby individual countries come 
to view tropical biodiversity as one of 
their major resources. It's essential 
that these countries believe these re- 
sources are theirs, not that they've 
been given some mandate from the big- 
ger world to shepherd what is ours. The 
politician, store owner, guy in the 
street, won't feel motivated to take 
care of the biodiversity unless he be- 

76 OMNI 

gins to see an advantage for himself. 
We need to get host countries in- 
volved in preserving their own biodiver- 
sity or we're dead in the water. For a 
politician in Costa Rica to support a 
wildland area, either he's got to have 
voters happy to have it or economic forc- 
es in the national budget that look up- 
on it as a resource like water, electriqi- 
ty, or roads. The Guanacaste is one of 
seven mainland conservation areas en- 
compassing all the country's conserved 
wildland. How do you make them some- 
thing of value? First, you must make 
them user-friendly to the visitor, wheth- 
er Costa Rican or traveler. An employ- 
er is a user, just as much as a tourist. 
Of the 100-odd employees here, 70 per- 
cent come from the immediate vicinity. 
The rest are Costa Rican— no gringos. 
Right away that gives you 100 votes, 
plus the families, relations, and neigh- 
bors. Secondly, we take gradeschool- 

fl'm happy 
to sacrifice five percent of the 

to keep the remaining wild- 
lands in 
shape. That's the negotiator's 
not the ivory-tower one. 9 

ers from all 1 2 schools in this area, phys- 
ically bring them out here in the 
woods, and teach them basic biology. 
The conservation area maintains that 
cost as part of its management budg- 
et, like fire or police protection. 
Omni: Was this your idea? 
Janzen: It's been around a long time. 
My effort was raising money to bring the 
kids here. We're also working to attract 
the Costa Rican equivalent of the guy 
who lives in Ohio and vacations in Yellow- 
stone. The job search for the park di- 
rector is conducted by a committee of 
prominent businessmen and govern- 
ment people who live here in Guanacas- 
te Province. The committee must ap- 
prove annual work plans and strategy 
of running the park. This piece of land 
is owned by the government of Costa 
Rica. If something went wrong, in the 
worst possible case, the government 
could sit on this system and claim own- 
ership. We've tried to set up the poli- 
tics so that doesn't happen, so the peo- 
ple accept that they are the custodians 
in many different ways. 

Not long ago, a sulfur mine wanted 
to open on the park boundary. The Min- 
istry in San Jose authorized a permit for 
the mine to operate. The regional com- 
mittee here got up on its political band- 
wagon and stopped the mine. They pro- 
tected this conservation area as 
though it were their own land. 
Omni: How do you develop these are- 
as in a commercial, profitable sense? 
Janzen: Farming the international tour- 
ist. You make the parks user-friendly for 
paying visitors. Invest in roads, build- 
ings, information folders, guides, and so 
forth, to bring the parks up to world- 
class speed, and you get a serious re- 
turn on your investment it may sound 
callous, but that's the way a minister of" 
finance will understand it. Measured in 
dollars, tourism is in the top three. It's 
bigger than bananas or cattle, but less 
than coffee and the accumulation of mi- 
nor manufacturing products. Measured 
in local impact, tourism trails behind 
both bananas and cattle. However, 
most all of the tourist dollars entering 
the country do not flow into the conser- 
vation area and its neighbors. 

The tourism industry has gotten away 
with using Costa Rican resources, es- 
pecially the parks, without paying for 
them because the national parks budg- 
et wasn't charged to the tourism indus- 
try but to conservationists. The parks 
were not initially set up to service tour- 
ism. That industry came in and made 
use of a resource set up for other peo- 
ple. That's going to change quickly. 
When you entered the park, you paid 
what? — 100 colones [about 80 cents]? 
Soon the fee will be commensurate to 
Yellowstone Park, which is roughly $10 
for a weekly visitor's permit. 
Omni: Won't you turn this area into an- 
other Yellowstone or Yosemite? 
Janzen: If we can organize the conser- 
vation area so our income flow resem- 
bles theirs, we'll be happy to give you 
5,000 of the park's 1 10,000 hectares to 
turn into Yosemite, This area is big 
enough and has enough replicated hab- 
itats that you can have one piece of hab- 
itat untouchable, another piece for wil- 
derness camping, another for the guy 
who rides his bicycle through the 
woods, another for the guy who wants 
his TV set, tent, the whole package. 

The movement's been around since 
1971. In 1986, it bought up adjacent 
land any conservationist would consid- 
er trash. It bought low-grade cattle ranch- 
es, low-yield rice fields, failed cashew 
orchards, all sorts of agricultural disas- 
ters, because there was more land on- 
to which the bits of preserved forest 
could expand and reoccupy. This 
space had almost nothing to do with the 
territorial requirements of tapirs, jaguars, 

or monkeys. We had enough for them. 
But if you allocate too little space — 
say, the minimum for the tapir popula- 
tion — you run into big problems. Over 
time, you develop sets of 500,000 peo- 
ple here, a million there, who come to 
see the park as their rural national the- 
ater. You have conflict between the guy 
who's trying to save the tapir and keep 
its habitat from being trampled and the 
tax-paying community who thinks it's 
their park to do with what they will. 
Omni: In Yellowstone, 90 percent of the 
tourists use 5 percent of the park. 
Janzen: Exactly. So what I've described 
is the traditional economic use of a na- 
tional park. But in the tropics, there's a 
second use: We have a hell of a di- 
verse, big, greenhouse. The seven con- 
servation areas here contain 500,000 
species of organisms. This conservation 
area has roughly 65 percent of them. 
If I own a greenhouse, the first thing 
I need to know is what's in it. The 
world used to finance the collector of 
beetles, say, through esoteric funding, 
the National Science Foundation, the 
wealthy patron. Suddenly, the develop- 
ment agency becomes interested; do- 
ing this inventory is a ciass of develop- 
ment that stimulates a whole inside-the- 
greenhouse effort to classify those 
500,000 organisms. Costa Rica has a 
lot of intelligent but underutilized rural 
people. We now train people with little 
more than a sixth-grade to high-school 
education to conduct an inventory. We 
give them biological, technical, and phil- 
osophical backgrounds and turn them 
loose to do the kind of work Ph.D.'s and 
graduate students traditionally do. 
Omni: You tell them to go collect one 
of everything? 

Janzen: That's largely right. Obviously, 
some people specialize. There are 
nine working here now. We call them 
parataxonomists. They bring their spec- 
imens to one building where we begin 
to sort and organize them. People mis- 
take the building, which functions as the 
management center for this biological 
information, for a museum. Traditional- 
ly, museums had a terrible time getting 
funded: They're esoteric, scientific, and 
don't seem pertinent to anything. Sud- 
denly this museumlike building is fund- 
able as a clearinghouse: the National 
Biodiversity Institute, INBio. 
Omni; Who wants this stuff? 
Janzen: In the old days, the inventory 
information might be published in sci- 
entific journals read by four professors 
and a few extratropical researchers. 
Now we distribute this information into 
commercial networks. Say Merck [a phar- 
maceutical house] is interested in rain- 
forest chemicals. They don't want sci- 
entific papers describing what's here, 

they want a goddamn computer print- 
out listing what's available and what it 
costs. For the biologist, it's a whole new 
world of commercial negotiating. 
Omni: What's on the printout? 
Janzen: There are two kinds of search. 
One is a blind search: A chemical com- 
pany wants samples of our inventory 
but has no idea how to pick out of a thou- 
sand species those having a higher 
probability of being useful. You send 
them a long list of samples, and may- 
be they're interested in sample number 
63. For a plant part, it might be 100 
grams of leaves. If it's an insect, it 
might be five grams of ants from a col- 
ony ground up in a bottle of alcohol. 
Should the need arise, the companies 
would want us to go back to the hillside 
where that ant colony exists and dig up 
a half kilo of ants. The search demands 
absolutely reliable identification and in- 
formation about how the samples were 
treated. If you pull a leaf off a plant, 
throw it in the oven and dry it out, or 
freeze it, you may destroy or alter its 
chemicals. The companies want exact- 
ly the same thing they got before. 

The other search is driven by outside 
information. Suppose someone noticed 
that when people in Southern Panama 
get strep throat, they make a tea out of 
a certain plant. The chemical in that 
plant, say, is the active ingredient in Su- 
crets. The company that wants to 
make the better Sucret comes to us for 
samples of the five most closely relat- 
ed plants in that family. Looking 
through the list of Costa Rican plants, 
we discover there's a patch of one on 
the side of a volcano. We go to the guy 
who's been doing the inventory in that 
area, and he tells us where and how 
many. It's like going to the shelf and get- 
ting what you need. 

Retrieving that batch of plants may 
cost only one day's salary in real mon- 
ey, but we can charge S5.000 because 
nobody else can do it. INBio is not just 
charging you for labor, but for infor- 
mation. The commercial world never jus- 
tifies what it charges; it charges what 
the market will bear. You could argue 
that there's a training cost for the para- 
taxonomist, a maintenance cost for the 
conservation area, and a cost to keep 
it from being turned into a cornfield. 

Years ago I crudely calculated how 
many cups of coffee are drunk in the 
world each day. Based on that number, 
if every cup carried a one-cent tax, 
there'd be enough money to endow all 
conserved wildlands in all the tropics for- 
ever. And coffee's just one plant! A com- 
pany's development budget for some 
new drink or drug contains the salaries 
for the advertising, research, and fac- 
tory people. It might contain 5,000 



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Until we talk to ETs, we can commune with the 

porpoises and whales 

semble into a pH' 
We might, for ins 

might thus be unable to 
._ -structure of our messr~~ 
.ck the concept of numt 
istance, that an alien had some 

Now, geologically s 
olution diverged only 

jde signaling rather th 
iten with arrays of und 

} sounds to so- (SET 
i computers, their complex 


phantom of the 


I nightmares as a kid? 

[ one about 

| aliens putting implants 
i people's necks. 
What was its name? Joe 
Kane will tell — Invaders 
from Mars. For those 
who care, Kane can also 
give a scene-by-scene 
rendition of It! The Terror 
from Beyond Space, the 
black-and-white saga of 
a monster that offs a 
spaceship crew. 

If you're looking for an 
expert on those old SF 

man. As "The Phanti 
of the Movies," or the 

York's Daily News, 
Kane reviews, among 
other things, horror, 
science fie 

i noir. And, he 

I valofSouls, in which a 
■nival is 
1 by ghouls, 
I followed by classics 
| like The Day the Earth 
'Still and 

larbabies, aboul a re 
skating team of the ft 
and a guru. 

The best part of his 
job, says Kane, is 
"finding something great, 
such as The Dark Side, a 
Canadian movie made in 
the Eighties about a cab 
driver caught up 
of weird people, 
have been tot 
ticed unless a 
like myself be- 
took at it." The ■ 
of the job : " '■' 
movies that turn out to be 
junk. — Anita Baskin 
f*e j»«f y ilm _ 


Is the 
U.S. govern- 

UFOs? Y 
ccording to 
scientist and 
UFO expert Jacques 
Vallee, whose new book 
' idden Science {North 
ic Books, 1992) 
- ,h i diary he kept 
3 1969. 
dinq to Vallee, he 

„ anizing the private 
f astronomer and 
UFO pioneer J. Alien 

'.back in 1967 when 

that UFO research would 
have taken a differed 
course had the panel i 
the data reviewed by 

itacle. "The scientific 
„,_,jroach to a complex 
new phenomenon is to 

," he says, 
"and that is exactly what 
Pentacie did." 

But aerospace writer 
and UFO skeptic Phillip J. 
Klass believes that Vallee 
places too much empha- 
sis on the Pentacie memo. 
"The more than twelve 
thousand UFO reports 
e submitted to 
Project Bluebook, some of 
which this memo refers I 
available in the 
National Archivi 


hate? "A real 
called So- 

} discovered a mer 
marked "SECRET— 
Security Information," 
signed by a project 
manager Vallee ha 
dubbed "P 


UFO patterns and sug- 
gested a serious scientific 

For some reason, the 

Pentacie memo never 

J the so-called 

I Robertson Panel, made 

up of top-level scientists 

investigating UFOs forth 

I pane! ended up debunking 
I UFOs. But Vallee believes 

public domain," Klass 
says. "I invite Vallee t 
pick out what.he believes 
are the best of those 
reports and demonstrate 

vanee, nuwever, says 
this approach would not 
be useful. "It is unlikely 
that any single case or 
group of cases will 
demonstrate anything," he 
says, noting that research- 

_ — iuld have benefited 
inuoi irom studying the 
pattern as a whole. 




V1SIQ&I8 m V^BF* the NDEer is 

or kil 1| 

seized by fear. 


The second trae of 

Mention the ,Jm^ 
near-death ^-^'' 


experience, and the image 
is beatific— tunnels of light, 

says Grevson, and in- 

deceased friends and 

emptiness." One new 

relatives, and flowing 

mother who had a 

pastures of green. But 

momentary brush with 

recently, psychiatrist 

death reported "spinning 

Bruce Greyson of the 

around and screaming. 1 

University of Connecticut 

realized that this was 

T M' 

eternity for all mankind." 

Nancy Evans Bush have 

Finally, the most frighten- 

begun to document the 

ing of a//NDEs involves 

dark side of the NDE. 

demons and other images 

nightmare, say the 
ers, people report the 
prototypical, peaceful experi- 
ence, from bright lights 
and tunnels to life reviews. 
But instead of perceiving 
these images as soothing, 

le, one perc 
ent reported. Another 
jrted people "black- 
d and sweaty , ' 
Meaning in pain." 

Surprisingly, the 
negative NDE appears to 

■■■■:■■ ■'.'■. ■:■>■■ 

Some thirty years ago, 
Michael Murphy 
cofounded the Esalen 
Institute, the pioneering 
center for human poten- 
tial in Big Sur, California. 
Located on a stretch of 
Pacific coastline i 
' », E 
became the premier 
center for a broad range 

of transformative ■ 

practices, includ- | 
ing yoga, contem- p. 
plative prayer, 
martial arts. 

Murphy recent- 
ly reached a new | 
milestone with tr 
publication of The 
Future ol the Body 
(Tarcher, 1992) in which 
he describes "latent 
human capabilities," 
from exceptional athletic 
skill to the ability to 
influence objects at 
a distance. Such abili- 
~~ Murphy, "can 

..... „3the most 
advanced part of a 
developmental continu- 

hing back to 
animal life." 

can help p 
evolve in the here and 
now. "Do we really 
believe," he says, "th ' 
human beings have ' 
*71(r] life's ancient 
y..;'*j pacity for tran 
. / I scendence?" 

©ARTCUMINGS what reliance 

Cr your art 

^ / 1 J The' Talk about has to the real 

^jfe 0/ / Ha ^ d s ^ckneyed world 

'^Jty% ! I ,.-■>■ \ of theme / we may have to 

<4dL / ' fr n Fate ?/ \ / cancd 

V ~"!T ' ; /—'I \ I */ /our funding 


English: If the barber of Seville is or- 
dered to shave all of only those men 
who do not shave themselves, does he 
shave himself? If he does, he falls into 
the set of those who do, and so he 
shouldn't. If he doesn't, he falls into the 
set of those who don't, and so he 
should. But then he does. . . . 

If you listen to Paulos long enough, 
you'll find, as a nation, that we're twist- 
ed into several paradoxes of our own, 
paradoxes that if left unreconciled 
could implode and drop us into a math- 
ematical black hole reminiscent of the 
Middle Ages. 

Right Brainers vs. Left Brainers 
Math is accessible to everyone, 
Paulos claims, and attractive to many 
as long as it's not described as math — 
as long as it's cards or chess or bat- 
ting averages. He doesn't object to the 
thesis that there are functional differ- 
ences between the right and left brain 
but is afraid it's oftentimes used as an 
excuse for people to disregard their 
own abilities and elevated to the status 
of some grand explanatory principle 
that distinguishes art from science, men 
from women, toads from frogs. "This 
apotheosis is generally courtesy of the 
same people who ask, 'What's your 
sign?'" he says. 

Of course., there are disparities in 
mathematical ability. "But everybody 
can learn the basics of mathematics 
and problem solving," Paulos says. 
Some people have perfect pitch, but 
that doesn't mean those who don't can't 
sing. To Paulos, the basics have to do 
with being able to estimate the height 
of the Empire State Building [approxi- 
■ mately 1,200 feei], to gauge everyday 
risks, or to convert dollars per pound 
into francs per kilogram. 

Some people are needlessly inse- 
cure about their mathematical acumen. 
He tells a story of meeting a woman on 
the train who told him how she figured 
a 15-percent tip. She knew how to fig- 
ure 10 percent, took that and added 
half again as much. "But she said she 
knew that was wrong because her hus- 
band told her she had to multiply by 
.15," Paulos says, "His attitude is typi- 
cal of people who impart mathematical 
knowledge like, 'This is the only way; 
this is the gospel.'" 

Conversely, some people think in fig- 
ures, but they wouldn't fare well guess- 
ing the number of jelly beans in a jar at 
the church bazaar. Common numerical 
sense is something even some numer- 
ates need to hone. "What I'd like to see 

doesn't mix with, it's fire. 

We'd never want a blaze to get going in one of 

our aging houses. (With all that whiskey inside, 

it'd go up like a Tennessee Fourth of July!) That's 

why these whiskeymen do double 

duty as members of our Volunteer 

Fire Department. We don't know 

if every distillery is this prepared to 

keep their product from going up 

in smoke. But after a sip of Jack 

Daniel's, we believe, you'll agree 

the protection is worth any cost. 


St i-.riret: ■ Disr. =a .inr: -at:\ e d r.y 
!. Lyncliburc. -Prjp 361>. Tennessee 37353 
■libtfkc <-m:.::,IS>n!,T, wiffl,«i 

is not so much a facility with various 
mathematical computations," Paulos 
says, "but just a better feel for numbers. 
I know people who can compute back- 
wards and forwards but have no idea 
what the population of the world is [5 
billion-plus] or the distance from coast 
to coast [2,500 air miles]." 

MTV, The Mall, and The Coach 

According to Paulos, math skills among 
Americans haven't necessarily gotten 
worse. More people know a modicum 
of .math now than, say, when Columbus 
hit the rock or at the time of the Civil 
War. The problem is that we haven't im- 
proved sufficiently to deal with the tech- 
nologically sophisticated society we 
live in. "The lack of math skills is more 
stark given the nature of our society," 
he says. "In the nineteenth century, peo- 
ple's math skills were sufficient. But giv- 
en the science and technology of the 
twentieth century, our skills aren't 
enough." And yet he is not encouraged 
by his own students. "There are some 
strong students coming in," he says, 
"but the average has declined. The usu- 
al bromide about MTV, lack of parental 
supervision, the mall— I think there's 
something to all those things." 

He understands, however, that MTV 
is more appealing than math class, and 
if he could find a way, he might try us- 
ing music videos to teach math. His 
own classroom experience was not en- 
tirely positive. "I didn't particularly like 
mathematics because of the way it was 
taught," he says- "It struck me the way 
it strikes a lot of people— it's mechani- 
cal and boring. There's a quasi-milita- 
ristic atmosphere in the classroom. Gen- 
erally, the coach taught math." 

"Math Class Is Tough"— Barbie 

People are quick to blame math teach- 
ers for the lack of number savvy among 
Americans. Paulos maintains that chil- 
dren are fairly open to mathematics — 
born without sin, so to speak— and 
pick up their math phobias from adults. 
Not to say that the classroom situation 
is ideal: Some teachers have as much 
or more background in method as in 
the subject they teach. But the Nation- 
al Council of Teachers of Mathematics 
and the National Council of Accredita- 
tion are working together to encourage 
states to require more math courses for 
certification of math teachers. 

Paulos suggests certifying retired en- 
gineers to teach or having several 
math specialists in the schools who 
float from class to class. In fact, sever- 
al states now offer "alternate route" cer- 
tification programs that allow people 
from other professions to work toward 
certification -without leaving their jobs. 

86 OMNI 

The intensive iraininrj courses last any- 
where from four to eight weeks. 

Another problem, says Paulos, is sim- 
ply the hierarchical way math is taught— 
"geometry, algebra, calculus, and se- 
rious gum disease," as he jokingly 
said lo West Point cadets. (They didn't 
get the joke.) "Algebra is like a filter 
that keeps students out of mathemat- 
ics," he says. "Kids who have a bad ex- 
perience with it in high school come to 
college and have to take it again. 
That's a mistake." To change the way 
math is taught— to instill an apprecia- 
tion for mathematics— Paulos proposes 
we also teach topics more applicable 
to everyday life: probability, statistics, 
game theory, inductive reasoning, infor- 
mal logic. "Puzzles, games, and riddles 
aren't discussed— in many cases, I'm 
convinced— because it's too easy for 
bright ten-year-olds to besf their teach- 
ers," he says. 

•I takes 
about eleven and a half days 

for a 
million seconds to tick away, 

but almost 

thirty : two years are required 

for a 

biliion seconds to pass. 9 

Paulos' own enchantment with math- 
ematics began at the age of ten when 
he calculated that a relief pitcher for the 
then Milwaukee Braves had an extraor- 
dinarily bad earned-run.average (ERA) 
of 135. His teacher asked him to explain 
to the class how he figured it and then 
informed him that he was wrong, assert- 
ing that ERAs could never be higher 
than 27. But Paulos was right, and he 
was vindicated when the Milwaukee 
Journal published the same statistic. "I 
remember thinking of mathematics as 
a kind of omnipotent protector," he 
says. "You could prove things to peo- 
ple, and they would have to believe you 
whether they liked you or not." 

He suggests that teachers put dol- 
lar signs in front of some numbers to 
make math pertinent— give numbers 
some practical significance. At the very 
least, teachers could use math prob- 
lems to tell stories and promote class 
discussion. "Mathematics should be 
taught in conjunction with courses in log- 
ic or philosophy of science, critical think- 
ing in general," Paulos says. "Kids 

should be required to write mathemat- 
ics, talk mathematics." 

By writing, he means writing out a 
problem instead of just submitting the 
answer, allowing for mistakes, eraser 
marks, scrap paper. Writing is process, 
Paulos contends, forcing students to or- 
ganize their thoughts, to format the prob- 
lem, apply the math to it, and interpret 
it. "More often than not, the reason stu- 
dents can't solve a problem is because 
they don't understand it," he says. 

If Paulos were your teacher, you'd be 
calculating the likelihood of inhaling a 
molecule exhaled by Julius Caesar or 
figuring why volume constraints show 
that Bigioot is impossible— and you'd 
do it with the help of all the available 
technology. He criticizes teachers who 
resist technology when teaching math, 
who consider calculators crib sheets. 
What if fifteenth-century Italians hadn't 
given up cumbersome Roman numer- 
als for the new, more efficient Arabic 
software, as it were? 

"Why do we spend innumerable 
hours teaching algorithms for Roman nu- 
merals?" he asks. "We've got programs 
to graph surfaces and perform statisti- 
cal operations and calculators that fig- 
ure out correlations and invert matrix- 
es." Technology and computers free us 
to understand conceptual back- 
grounds, mathematical models, and heu- 
ristic problem-solving techniques. 

Many teachers agree with Paulos. 
They'd like to teach math more intuitive- 
ly but feel forced to teach skills that al- 
low students to do well on standardized 
tests. According to a study released in 
October of last year by the Center for 
the Study of Testing, Evaluation, and Ed- 
ucational Policy al Boston College, stand- 
ardized and textbook tesfs given to 
most U.S. students adversely influence 
the teaching of mathematics and sci- 
ence skills recommended by curriculum 
experts. Researchers say this finding is 
especially true in classrooms with high 
minority enrollments. For example, on- 
ly 3 percent of the questions on stand- 
ardized mathematics exams tested con- 
ceptual knowledge, and only 5 percent 
tested for problem-solving and reason- 
ing skills. "The tests studied overwhelm- 
ingly measure low-level skills such as 
rote memorization and recall rather 
than high-level skills such as concep- 
tualizing, problem solving, and reason- 
ing," says George Madaus, the study's 
principal investigator, in interviews 
with more than 300 teachers, 60 per- 
cent of mathematics teachers de- 
scribed negative effecls on student 
learning resulting from district or state 
testing programs. 

From these standardized tests 
come reports the media are quick lo pub- 

lish, recounting how lousy American stu- 
dents are at math, how low they rank 
internationally. But the media, a notori- 
ously innumerate bunch according to 
Paulos, rarely discuss the problems in- 
herent in such surveys. 
' A 1990 article in Phi Delia Kappan 
by Iris C. Rotberg, who was then pro- 
gram director at the National Science 
Foundation, outlines just a few of the 
problems. For instance, the decline of 
scores on the Scholastic Aptitude Test 
(SAT) can be attributed largely to the 
fact that more students are taking the 
SAT and attending college. Moreover, 
state rankings of SAT scores reflect the 
proportion of students who take the 
test. The states with the highest propor- 
tion of students taking the SAT tend to 
have the lowest average SAT scores. 
Rotberg is concerned that the focus on 
test scores deflects attention from our 
real problems; the large proportion of 
our students who live below ihe pover- 
ty line, vast disparities in education 
expenditures between rich and poor 
school districts, and the rising costs of 
higher education — and what that does 
to student motivation. 

When U.S. test scores are compared 
to other countries, say Japan and Swit- 
zerland, the United States usually 
ranks behind them. The results, howev- 
er, can be skewed. Internationally, not 
all countries emphasize the same sub- 
jects. In many countries, virtually all ad- 
vanced mathematics students take cal- 
culus, while in the United States, only 
about one-fifth of students taking twelfth- 
grade math study calculus. Not surpris- 
ingly, those who don't take calculus, 
which is included on the test, general- 
ly score lower. Rotberg notes that 
while there is room for debate about 
whether a higher proportion of U.S. high- 
school students should take calculus, 
this issue cannot be resolved on the- ba- 
sis of test scores of students who have 
never taken the subject. The geograph- 
ic and socioeconomic composition of a 
sample can vary tremendously and al- 
so factor into test results. 

In. many countries, only the highest- 
achieving students go to upper-second- 
ary academic schools. How this affects 
results is shown most blatantly in what 
Rotberg calls "reversals." In one math 
assessment test that included students 
of Hungary and England, Hungary 
ranked near the top in the eighth- 
grade comparisons but fell to the bot- 
tom in twelfth-grade comparisons. Eng- 
land's ranking was the opposite: low in 
eighth grade, high in twelfth. Hungary, 
however, has more students studying 
math in the twelfth grade, while only a 
select group of students in England, 
presumably those who will go on to 

study the sciences at universities, take 
math in the twelfth grade. Only those stu- 
dents were tested. 

The tests can be damaging them- 
selves, according to Monty Neill of 
FairTest, a Cambridge, Massachusetts, 
organization that promotes fair and 
open testing for students and workers. 
American sludents may. take up to ten 
standardized multiple-choice tests a 
year, Neill says, with the most typically 
given in poor urban school systems. 
Over 100 million tests are given nation- 
wide during the school year. Most 
school districts use the tests for track- 
ing; some are required by state law. But 
FairTest contends that the tests are not 
accurate enough to base decisions 
such as denying a student a diploma. 
And in many cases, the tests can be 
biased by race, class, and gender. 

Gender bias has been particularly 
prevalent in math and science. Histori- 
cally, men supposedly are more in- 
clined toward the sciences. But girls in 
elementary school traditionally test as 
well, or better, than boys, according to 
Paulos, and only start to fall behind in 
junior high. The myths lead to a gen- 
der acquiescence, in a sense, with wom- 
en who shy from the sciences locking 
themselves out of higher-paying fields. 
"I've seen too many bright women go 
into sociology and too many dull men 
go into business," Paulos writes in In- 
numeracy, "the only difference between 
them being that the men managed to 
scrape through a couple of college 
math courses." 

The myth is so ingrained in our soci- 
ety that Mattel, which no doubt has 
more product consultants than you can 
count on your hands and toes, made 
the gender faux pas of the year last fall 
when it introduced a Barbie who said, 
"Math class is tough." 

Mathematicians in the Ivory Cylinder 
Paulos dreams of a day when the 
world is not so divided into numerates 
and Enumerates, and he calls his pro- 
fession to task for perpetuating the 
myths about the inaccessibility of 
math. But professional mathematicians, 
he points out, are caught in a culture 
that simultaneously exalts them for 
their expertise and dismisses them as 
impractical whizzes. Senior mathema- 
ticians, engineers, or scientists wooed 
by industry often find themselves in sub- 
ordinate positions to young MBAs. Ac- 
cording to Paulos, it's not surprising 
that mathematicians perpetuate myths 
about the inaccessibility of math. 

"Some people think math is sort of 
handed down by the gods," Paulos 
says, "that it wasn't something created 
or discovered by our species." Mathe- 

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matjcians often lurther the illusion by 
flaunting a finished theorem without 
showing the actual work. "Mathematics 
is messy, full of false starts, dead 
ends," he says. "Half the time, it's in- 
coherent. When mathematicians finally 
formulate a theorem, they then go 
back and clean everything up. What's 
left is a pristine, purely logical deduc- 
tion, All evidence of human endeavor 
has been eradicated." 

The lack of communication between 
professional mathematicians and edu- 
cators also promotes the myth that 
math is inaccessible. "Mathematicians 
never talk to educators because they 
think educators don't know any math," 
Paulos says. "Oftentimes they don't," he 
adds. "Educators don't talk to mathe- 
maticians because they think they're not 
interested in education, Oftentimes 
they aren't." In Eastern Europe and Rus- 
sia, however, world-class mathemati- 
cians sometimes teach in the high 
schools. Paulos suggests secondary 
math teachers and math professors 
switch jobs for a week. Both might 
learn something. 

Math Is Finite 

Those of us who are innumerate and 
still add by using our fingers often won- 
der if there are any problems left for 
mathematicians to solve. "Isn't math, as 
a discipline, a closed subject?" we ask. 
What are mathematicians messing 
around with in 1993? "Mathematics has 
a lot of life in it," Paulos says. He rat- 
tles off a few unsolved problems, includ- 
ing the Riemann hypothesis, which if 
proven, will prove other hypotheses, 
and the Poincare conjecture, atopolog- 
ieal problem- According to Paulos, 
mostproblems, however, are internal to 
mathematics. "Some are intractable," 
he says, "in a theoretical sense, solv- 
able, but it would be practically impos- 
sible to find an exact solution." 

Computers, of course, are changing 
the scope of mathematics, allowing for 
a new set of problems to be studied 
with a new approach and some old prob- 
lems to be refigured. "Recent work 
with computers on chaos and fractals 
has made parts of mathematics into a 
quasi-empirical field for the first time in 
its history," Paulos says. "It's made math- 
ematicians more diffident, because 
they've realized how difficult it is to pre- 
dict the evolution of various systems, 
and it's also made them realize how lit- 
tle is known about the complex evolu- 
tion of systems such as the economy." 

Computer scientist Gregory Chaitin 
used the computer to reprove early 
twentieth-century mathematician Kurt 
Godel's theorem of incompleteness, 
which states "that any formal system of 
88 OMNI 

mathematics that includes a mod cum 
of arithmetic is incomplete OR there 
will always be true statements that will 
be neither provable nor disprovable 
with the system — no matter how elabo- 
rate it is. Chaitin proved it by running 
on the computer a random sequence 
of numerical codes for which, because 
of its randomness, an 'equation could, 
not be formulated. "One way to inter- 
pret Godel's theorem is that mathemat- 
ics will always have a lot of life in it," 
says Paulos. 

Considering math only in terms of 
problems and solutions, however, un- 
dersells process. "The benefit of study- 
ing a problem is often broader and 
more amorphous than the solution," 
Paulos says. "New ideas are generally 
or more value than Ihe psrtfeutei prob- 
lems that prompted their discovery." He 
uses Fermat's last theorem as an exam- 
ple, where seventeenth-century math- 
ematician Pierre Fermat said that there 
do not exist whole numbers x, y, z 
such that x 3 + y 3 = z 3 - Although the con- 
sensus is that his theorem is true, no 
mathematician has been able to prove 
it. "All kinds of other mathematical 
tools have been developed in the effort 
to prove or disprove Fermat's theorem," 
Paulos says. 

This Sentence Is False 

Call it Paulos' Dilemma. How do you con- 
vince students they can do math, that 
they' even need to know their numbers 
to make decisions in life. How do you 
prevent the field of mathematics from 
becoming infinitely internal, from swal- 
lowing itself up? How do you merge the 
sets of numerates and Enumerates so 
that more people get a piece of pi? 
Keep writing math, as Paulos plans to 
do, with a fifth book he's keeping un- 
dercover that's already in the works. His 
motivation comes from his belief that 
there really is a latent hunger for math- 
ematics. The success of his books 
seems evident of that. But where does 
the hunger come from? Paulos isn't 
sure. The answer is intractable and in- 
complete, something you can't solve us- 
ing a computer or that even makes com- 
mon sense. "In an increasingly complex 
world full of senseless coincidence and 
baseless pseudoscience," he writes, 
"what's required in many situations is 
not more facts— we're inundated al- 
ready—but a better command of 
known facts, and for this a course in 
probability is invaluable. Probability, 
like logic, is not just for mathematicians 
anymore. It permeates our lives." Qui- 
etly, almost as an afterthought, a 
cig-ession. he adds, "In a way. there's 
nothing more basic, more fundamental, 
than numbers." DO 


find a way to put words in the grid." As- 
signing a value from to 12 to each, 
denoting a personal favorite or (un-to- 
clue word and 12 a word that the pro- 
gram won't even consider using, Albert 
has poured 750,000 words and phras- 
es into his database. He dumps in the 
entries en masse, using dictionaries 
and thesauruses available on disk. He's 
even written programs to cull words and 
apt phrases from various software, 
such as rock-'n'-roll trivia games. But 
he's found no shortcut to tagging the 
entries: It took him more than two 
months to tag the 67,175 eight-letter 
wovds. &5 IfSfe database. 

The computer comes up with two 
more solutions for the upper right- 
hand corner and decides— after 51 sec- 
onds—that it can do no better than a 
value of 66 of 22. Albert then readies 
the computer for a second, much small- 
er chunk, which, as it happens, offers 
a more formidable challenge than the 
first simple grid he attempted to fill 
with an early version of his program. 

"I can't tell you how long it took," he 
says. "I started on a 386 machine at 
work on a Friday afternoon, and when 
I came in on Monday morning, it was 
nowhere close to done." So far, Albert 
guesses, he's increased the program's 
speed by roughly a million times. Com- 
puting time on today's puzzle: 2 min- 
utes, 36 seconds. 

He smiles when he sees PETE ROSE 
in the 4-down slot, and he thinks Mo- 
town when he spots TOBEG running 31- 
across: He enjoys being surprised by 
his own puzzles. Although he currently 
writes the clues by hand, he could par- 
tially automate this final phase of puz- 
zle constructing. 

"I'm using the computer in every pos- 
sible way I can to stress my advan- 
tage," he says. "But also because it's 
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place vehicles in traffic schemes that 
are inherently less hazardous. Take a 
platoon. "If the vehicles are very close 
together and their velocities are the 
same, a collision would have a very mi- 
nor impact," says Hall. It could proba- 
bly be absorbed by heftier bumpers, let- 
ting the caravaning autos continue 
their journey, he says. 

What's more, the sensors and micro- 
processors used for automatic driving 
could also power sophisticated warn- 
ing devices to help when drivers oper- 
ate their cars in manual mode, in fact, 
most sensing systems will start out as 
mere driver aids until they're proven re- 
liable enough for actual vehicle control. 
Collision-avoidance radar from Ford Mo- 
tor Company will appear first as a vision- 
enhancement device. In poor visibility, 
it may project simplified icons onto a 
windshield in a head-up display, over- 
laying the position of other vehicles and 
hazardous obstacles. "For the moment, 
we're not taking control of the vehicle, 
but the day that it becomes accepta- 
ble to the driving community, the sys- 
tem will be able to do so very accurate- 
ly," says Eduardo Peralta, manager of 
the research program. 

"We need to go up the development 
stairway a step at a time; that's the 
who!e history of the automotive indus- 
try," says Robert Ervin, codirector of the 
University of Michigan's IVHS program. 
The process begins with autonomous, 
free-standing safety and convenience 
features that show up first in high- 
priced autos and then trickle down as 
they demonstrate their worth. Highly co- 
ordinated functions like platooning 
won't become widespread for at least 
20 years, predicts PATH director Don 
Orne. Others are more cautious. Joseph 
(vl. Sussman, professor of engineering 
from the Massachusetts Institute of 
Technology and former distinguished 
university scholar with IVHS America, 
doesn't expect such capabilities to 
reach the cars of average motorists for 
another 25 to 30 years. "There's a lot 
of technical work that needs to be 
done," not to mention the engineering, 
education, and public-policy changes, 
Sussman says. 

The evolution of thinking cars began 
when antilock brakes appeared in the 
mid 1980s, followed by traction control. 
Both countermand the command of the 
driver in order to keep tires rolling un- 
der control. An antilock brake system, 
or ABS, using a series of rapid pulses, 
automatically reduces brake pressure 
when it determines that a .wheel is 

about to lock during hard stopping — a 
condition that would cause it to slide out 
of control. Traction control piggybacks 
onto ABS to prevent spin-outs during ac- 
celeration, The system available on In- 
finiti Q45 models borrows the car's ABS 
sensors to detecl when a wheel is spin- 
ning too fast. It then applies selective 
brake pressure to kee"p an errant 
wheel under control. At the same time, 
the computer may reduce the amount 
of gas going into the engine, even 
though the driver is irying (o pour it on 
all at once. Not only does the system 
provide better starts at stoplights, it can 
assure stability during risky maneuvers 
like passing a truck in rain or snow. 

Engineering, manufacturing, and 
operational experience from one mile- 
stone system —antilock brakes — roll in- 
to another, traction control. They even 
share some of the same hardware and 
software. "One of the reasons this tech- 
nology is so appealing to me is that it's 
relatively inexpensive" once the funda- 
mental building blocks are in place, 
says Gene Farber, who directs IVHS 
strategy and planning for Ford. With 
enough sensors, actuators and process- 
ing power on board, adding control fea- 
tures becomes primarily an exercise in 
computer programming. 

Two key building blocks yet to 
come are collision-avoidance radar and 
integrated power-train control. Elements 
of each are arriving fast. Integrated pow- 
er-train control eliminates the mechan- 
ical linkage that currently connects the 
gas pedal to the engine. In the future, 
the accelerator will be a mere electron- 
ic input device, registering your inten- 
tion by sending impulses to a control 
computer much the way your kid 
makes Mario jump and run with a Nin- 
tendo joystick. A significant first step in 
that direction is the electronically con- 
trolled accelerator on the new BMW 
750il_ luxury sedan. Its gas pedal op- 
erates a potentiometer, like a radio vol- 
ume control. A simple wire connects it 
to the computerized engine-manage- 
ment system. 

Such drive-by-wire arrangements 
make it easier to add fully automatic 
speed control because they give a com- 
puter full charge over the physical mech- 
anisms that govern the engine. Today's 
cruise-control devices share (he engine 
with the gas pedal, and the driver's 
foot has priority. That would never do 
in a platoon, where speed would have 
to be adjusted precisely, automatical- 
ly, to keep each member in synch with 
the group. With drive-by- wire, the com- 
puter could turn off the gas pedal 
when appropriate. 

What's more, a processor between 
driver and engine can mollify the ped- 





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al so that the engine operates at peak 
efficiency all the time. "A driver 
doesn't know exactly how to use his toe 
to optimize fuel consumption and mini- 
mize emissions," says Ralph Colello, 
head of the -automotive practice of 
management consultants at Arthur D. 
Little. With fully integrated power-train 
control, he says, "the computer would 
decide how much fuel to add and how 
quickly to add it." 

As a first step toward collision-avoid- 
ance radar, intelligent or adaptive 
cruise control should begin appearing 
on cars by about 1995. A prototype 
adaptive cruise system on a Cadillac 
■ Seville running around the General Mo- 
tors Technical Center near Detroit us- 
es a radar-like device to gauge the dis- 
tance to the car ahead. A controller 
then constantly adjusts the car's 
speed to maintain a safe following dis- 
tance, adapting to faster speeds by stay- 
ing farther back. If the leading vehicle 
should slow suddenly, GM's system 
automatically applies the brakes while 
at the same time sounding an alert to 
let the driver know that additional ac- 
tion is needed 

A similar intelligent cruise system 
being developed by Mercedes-Benz 
uses an infrared distance sensor. 
"There's a Mercedes test car on the 
road every day in which the driver sits 
there with arms folded while the car 
drives itself," Dieter Zetsche, the new 
head of Mercedes-Benz research and 
development in Germany, said recent- 
ly. A production Mercedes with intelli- 
gent cruise control is possible by 1994 
(probably for the 1995 model year). In 
Japan, Nissan is working on a range find- 
er that reads the reflections of lasers. 
Already Japanese truckers can buy a 
version that warns them if they're clos- 
ing too fast. And the 2,400 buses of 
Greyhound Lines are being equipped 
with radar warning systems from 
VORAD Safety Systems of San Diego. 
These devices are all stepping stones 
to fuller-functioning collision avoidance 
like the system under development at 
Ford, which uses multimode radar that 
adapts to changing traffic conditions. 
The system may stare at faraway obsta- 
cles; it may slew— slowly scan— to get 
a better read on objects at intermediate 
range and then rapidly scan threats near- 
er the vehicle. "It has to recognize a 
tree beside the road from a car on the 
road," says Eduardo Peralta, a former 
weapons engineer who transferred from 
Ford Aerospace to the car business in 
1 987. The device differentiates between 
two side-by-side vehicles at 500 yards, 
resolution that would have required a 
ten-foot diameter antenna until Ford 
developed an alternative barely five inch- 

es across. "This will be the smartest sys- 
tem on the car," says Peralta, his pride 
subdued but apparent. 

Other technologies will play signifi- 
cant supporting roles. Vehicle naviga- 
tion can tell a car where it is and how 
to get to where it's going, typically by 
combining an external positioning tech- 
nology, like satellite tracking, with on- 
board dead-reckoning that charts the 
car's progress on computerized maps. 
In the TravTek test project now under- 
way in Orlando, video screens in 100 
Oldsmobile Toronados display traffic in- 
formation as well as maps directing driv- 
ers to their destinations. Future nav sys- 
tems could be linked to automatic ve- 
hicle controls to allow a car to guide 
itself. With roadside communication bea- 
cons to transmit information like speed 
limits and turn restrictions, a properly 
equipped automobile could conceiva- 
bly freewheel from driveway to, say, a 

a Mercedes test car on 

the road 

every day in which the 


sits there with arms 


while the car drives itself. 9 

restaurant punched into the nav system 
from its own Yellow Pages directory. 
The most challenging barrier to road- 
way automation is not scientific 
knowhow, but nagging societal issues. 
Pollution remains a big concern. 
There's little doubt that individual cars 
will emit less pollutants once consistent, 
computerized control nullifies erratic 
and inefficient driving. Advocates 
hope that even if travel volume in- 
creases, overall emissions will decrease 
as automatic driving cuts out the stop- 
and-go traffic in which engines are 
■■oast efficient. "There may be pollution 
benefits, but those benefits are not prov- 
en," concedes PATH'S Hall. At the 
same time, development of alternative 
engines and fuels, electric cars, and 
even better gasoline engines may amel- 
iorate emissions. 

Another concern holding up the sys- 
tems is product liability. Auto makers 
fear being nagged into bankruptcy by 
claims for equipment failures or, even 
worse, perceived equipment failures in 
automobile? ou'.iiUed for automatic driv- 

ing. "Our substantial concern is about 
its misuse," says Farber. According to 
Vostrez, we need to legislatively im- 
prove the environment for developing 
these systems. "We must recognize 
that especially during the early develop- 
ment stage there will be some risk," he 
says. "Society must agree to share it." 
Yet probably the greatest concern 
among IVHS advocates is how to 
make room for drivers once cars no long- 
er need them. The inevitability of human 
presence means that automated sys- 
tems must be excruciatingly simple to 
operate. They must allow for safe, easy 
transitions between manual and auto- 
matic modes. And they cannot distract 
or overload operators. That's where 
computer-processing power can be 
used to great advantage. For instance, 
in Ford's collision-avoidance system, 
"all the processing is done internally, 
within the radar, to keep the driver 
from being distracted by needless in- 
formation. Only the threats are present- 
ed to the driver," Peralta says. 

He worries about price tags, too. At 
introduction around year 2000, Ford's 
radar won't exceed $1 ,200, the sum mo- 
torists already pay for power moonroofs. 
Fact is, the auto makers are pretty con- 
sistent in turning marvelously complex 
and concatenated machinery, both elec- 
tronic and mechanical, into products for 
the masses. After a century competing 
in consumer markets, they've learned 
that the success of such concepts as 
automatic driving ultimately hinges on 
popular acceptance. 

At the same time, we motorists have 
demonstrated an eagerness for equip- 
ment that makes driving more comfort- 
able and convenient, from electric start- 
ers and automatic transmissions to air 
conditioners and even car radios. Op- 
erator skill Improves with successive re- 
finements. "When I was a kid, driving 
was so all-consuming that you never 
thought ot bringing food or drink into the 
car," says Jerry Palmer, a GM future 
thinker and Design Center executive. 
Automatic driving will make possible a 
game of chess, a chapter of War and 
Peace, even a nap. "Your relationship 
with your vehicle will be such that you'll 
actually look forward to a long journey," 
Palmer predicts. 

Automatic driving will improve rela- 
tionships among vehicles, rr : ;liuv~ ::: .■ : 
ing, reduce hazards, all the while ato*- 
ing people to amass their beloved 
automobiles. To that end, caieM re- 
thinking and reorganizing of transpor- 
tation policy should begin today. besye 
it's too late, "When you took at *» 
speed at which the technology e are**- 
ing," warns Vostrez, "it mayatrweafc* 
faster than we anticipate." DO 



move you. There's no force between 
us." Sensors in the noise-killing curtain 
pick up the incoming waves, the punch- 
es of sound, and trigger piezoelectric 
movements to absorb the punches thou- 
sands of times a second. The result of 
this high-speed boxing match is si- 
lence. In some contests, such silence 
means victory. The U.S. Navy, for ex- 
ample, carefully tracks noise-suppres- 
sion work in labs like this so that some- 
day it can commission submarines so 
quiet that no enemy can hear them com- 
ing. The principle for muffling the rack- 
et is simple, according to Harry Robert- 
shaw, a prolussor m Rogers' center. Sen- 
sors on the outer hull would pick up any 
vibrations from the sub. The piezoelec- 
tric patches would produce vibrations 
that would cancel out the sounds. 

In the future, say material scientists, 
submarines, will not just be silent, they 
will also move through the water with 
the sheer natural grace and speed of 
a fish. According to electrical engineer 
L. Eric Cross, sharks and other marine 
animals can speed though the water 
with so much agility because of an adap- 
tive body shape. "There are a number 
of marine creatures," Cross explains; 
"that in fact swim faster than their pow- 
er sources should let them. They do 
this by streamlining the flow of water 
over their body surfaces. We'd like to 
mimic that. We'd like to know how we 
can benefit from millions of years of ma- 
rine evolution." 

One way, Cross adds, may be 
through the next generation of piezoe- 
lectric materials, which are some ten 
times more sensitive than the materials 
in use today. Once these new sensors 
come into play, says Cross, "the skin 
of such water babies as submarine 
ships and torpedoes will continuously 
monitor their flow through water, chang- 
ing shape depending on the strength 
and direction of currents and the 
depth of the sea." 

But subs and torpedoes are just the 
beginning. The true goal, says Rogers, 
is perfecting a new generation of ani- 
mated machines with multiple applica- 
tions for every aspect of our lives. 
These smart systems would be put to- 
gether piece by piece, forming a con- 
sistent constructed world in the same 
way nature uses basic cell structure in 
everything from muscles to neurons. 
Reaching that goal shouldn't take 
more than a generation, he says. "I'm 
convinced that twenty years from now, 
smart materials will be just as ordinary 
as many of the most common structur- 

al materials are today." 

If Rogers is correct, smart machines 
will be everywhere by the year 2012. In 
fact, researchers- at the Xerox Palo Al- 
to Research Center are writing scenar- 
ios for what they call "ubiquitous" com- 
puting. It may be the ultimate in smart 
materials. If their plans are realized, com- 
puters wifl reside, invisibly, in all of our 
stuff, hundreds or thousands of them 
per house or office. A central comput- 
er, costing no more than $300 to $400, 
will coordinate them, according to en- 
gineer Mark Weiser, head of the cen- 
ter's Computer Science Laboratory. 

"The big change we'll see is many 
more, computers in all parts of our 
lives," Weiser says, "but we'll be much 
less aware that they're there." Weiser 
and his colleagues have already built 
models of some of the gear that he 
thinks will insinuate itself into smart 
homes, offices, and cars Over the next 
20 years. One is called a tab, about the 
size of a packet of Post-It notes with a 
2 x 3-inch video screen. Tabs carry the 
bookmark concept to an extreme. 
"Things will come with tabs built in," 
Weiser says, "or you'll stick them on 
things." Tabs will use radio or infrared 
signals to communicate with the cen- 
tral computer in your home. The cen- 
tral computer, in turn, will know where 
everything is and coordinate the action 
of all the individual tabs. Your bedroom 
alone may house more than 100 tabs, 
Weiser says. To find lost socks, adjust 
the heat, receive short messages from 
your children in other rooms, or control 
the computers in the wall, you can sim- 
ply read or adjust a tab. Next to your 
bed, you'll also find a few "pads," Weis- 
er's term for flattened computers the 
size of yellow legal papers. You can 
scribble on these pads or call up pag- 
es from a book, magazine, or database. 
The walls, if you choose, will display 
one or two hanging "boards" a yard or 
so in width to let you view news or the 
neighborhood scene. 

Ultimately, Weiser says, computers 
will disappear, literally, into the walls. 
These animated, computerized surfac- 
es will provide future Americans with far 
more control over their environment and 
an extensive vision of their Immediate 
world. Knowing where everything and 
everyone is, he says, will lead future 
Americans back to a simpler past: "We 
can return to the kind of society in the 
early part of this century," he says, 
"when everyone sat out on the porch 
and watched and cared about what 
was going on in the community." But 
when that day dawns, the community 
will be considerably enlarged — by a 
whole new species of sensing, moving, 
reasoning, animated machines. DO 


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Spend the silliest month with our fiendishly difficult board game 

By Scot Morris 

A tricky new solitaire game 
recently came my way. To 
play it, you'll need a grid of 
squares, like a chessboard, 
and a bunch of counters, 
such as checkers or coins. 
Start with one counter in 
the square in the board's 
lower left comer. Each move 
consists of choosing a 
counter on the board and 
putting down two new 
counters— one on the 
square just to the right of the 
chosen counter and the 
other On the square just 
above it; you then remove 
your chosen counter. 
Squares can hold only one 
counter at a time. 

The first move leaves the 
corner square empty and 
two counters on the first 
diagonal squares (right). 
With three more moves, you 
can empty these two 

How many moves will it 
take to vacate the lower left 
six squares — that is, the 
three mentioned above, 
plus three along the next 

In .practice, a standard 8 
x 8 board will suffice for this 
game, but in theory, the 
rules allow for the board to 
be infinite. Since the moves 
always progress to the right 
and up, it seems intuitive 
that the lower left corner 
squares-will eventually all be 
empty. But hew many 
moves will it take? 

This solitaire game had its 
start in the former Soviet 
Union at the "Tournament of 
the Towns," an intercity 
mathematics competition. In 
the spring 1981 contest; M. 
Kontsevich posed the check- 
erboard puzzle; the problem 
of vacating thesix corner 






; L 

1 1 

okp ■ 

squares differs somewhat 
from the original puzzle. The 
"Tournament of the Towns" 
has since become an 
international event. In 1990, 
at the first World Federation 
of National Mathematics 
Competitions Conference, 
N. Konstantinov of Moscow 
presented his surprising 
analysis of the game. 
Attendees report that the 
assembled mathematicians 
found his insights so elegant 
that they gave him a 
standing ovation. 

I'll give more information 
about the problem in a 
future issue. Meanwhile, I 
offer to award. $5, 000 to the 
first reader who sends the 
correct solution with the 
fewest finite number of 
moves. Let me caution 
readers that no solution has 
been found to this problem. 

Counter-Intuitive Problem, 
Omni Magazine, 324 W. 
Wendover Avenue, Suite 
205, Greensboro, North 
Carolina 27408. The moves 
must be numbered sequen- 
tially and identified by the 
coordinates of the vacated 
squares. Use chess nota- 
tion, numbering the rows. 
from the bottom up 1, 2, 3, 
and so on, and lettering the 
columns A, B, C, and so on, 
starting from the left. 
While you've got a 
chessboard out, try this one; 

1, Can you construct a 
knight's tour that starts in 
one corner square of the 
board and ends in the 
square diagonally opposite? 
A knight's tour starts on one 
square of the board and 
ends 63 knight moves later 
on another specified- square 
after visiting every other 
square once. If you can't do 
it, can you prove that 

nobody can? 

And in honor of the 
month, here are a few 
amusing puzzles. The an- 
swers follow. 

2. My brother and I were 
born in the same hour of the 
same day in the same year. 
But we are not- twins. How 
can this be? 

3. A woman pushing her 
car .stopped outside a hotel 
and immediately went bank- 
rupt. Explain 

4. Hogan and Snead are 
professional golfers and 
long-time rivals. One day 
during a game, they had 
each scored 30 when 
Hogan hit a bad shot. Snead 
immediately added 10 to his 
own score. Snead then hit a 
good shot and won the 
game. Why? 

5. Barrel A is filled with 55 
gallons of water. Barrel B, 
the same size, is half-filled 
with water. What could you 
fill Barrel A with to make it 
lighter than Barrel B? 


1. It isn't possible. A 
knight on a square of one 
color changes to a square of 
the other color on every 
move— black to white or 
white to black: If it starts on 
a black square, after an odd 
number of moves it's on a 
white square, and after an 
even number of moves, it's 
back on black. Diagonally 
opposite squares on a 
chessboard are the same 
color, but the tour takes 63 
moves, an odd number. 

2. We are two of a set of 

3. She was playing 

4. They were playing 

5. Holes. DO